Literature and Identity in the Caribbean


Uploaded by mountholyokenews on 19.05.2011

Transcript:
The more you know about what the coordinates that shape your past are, and the more control
you have over your perception of those coordinates, the better you are to design the future you
want for yourself, without stumbling along the way. It doesn’t mean you can guarantee
a particular future, but at the very least, you don’t stumble into it.
The first section is devoted to essays which take the entire region as their subject and
which are an attempt to both reveal and demonstrate a regional literary coherence. It’s both
an argument for a pan-Caribbean criticism and a demonstration of how that kind of criticism
might approach the area of its concern. The second section is devoted specifically to
the literary, social, and historical experience of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the United
States. The third section of the book focuses on the other Spanish islands--Cuba, Puerto
Rico--and the French and English islands--Martinique, Grenada, Jamaica, and so on--and their literary voices,
and the way in which their literary voices also carry a kind of general pan-Caribbean resonance.
The usual way of addressing, for example, Caribbean literature, is to deal with it on
the basis of language units. The primary question, and one, for example, that I address in one
of my courses, is can you speak about a unified Caribbean that exists and coheres beyond the
categories of language and individual nation?
The intent here is not to minimize the particularity of the units--that remains intact, and properly
should--but to be able to see that those units are not isolated units, that they form part
of a kind of cohering puzzle, if you like.