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Translating Kali's Feast

The Goddess in Indo-Caribbean Ritual and Fiction

Stephanos Stephanides and Karna Singh

Translating Kali's Feast is an interdisciplinary study of the Goddess Kali bringing together ethnography and literature within the theoretical framework of translation studies. The idea for the book grew out of the experience and fieldwork of the authors, who lived with Indo-Caribbean devotees of the Hindu Goddess in Guyana. Using a variety of discursive forms including oral history and testimony, field notes, songs, stories, poems, literary essays, photographic illustrations, and personal and theoretical reflections, it explores the cultural, aesthetic and spiritual aspects of the Goddess in a diasporic and cross-cultural context. With reference to critical and cultural theorists including Walter Benjamin and Julia Kristeva, the possibilities offered by Kali (and other manifestations of the Goddess) as the site of translation are discussed in the works of such writers as Wilson Harris, V.S. Naipaul and R.K. Narayan. The book articulates perspectives on the experience of living through displacement and change while probing the processes of translation involved in literature and ethnography and postulating links between ‘rite' and ‘write,' Hindu ‘leela' and creole ‘play.'