Michelle Cliff, David Dabydeen, Opal Palmer Adisa
Edited by Alfred Hornung and Ernstpeter Ruhe
Magical Realism in US Ethnic Literatures
Jesús Benito, Ana María Manzanas and Begoña Simal
Critical Essays on Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery
Edited by Lionel Kelly
Urban displacement and failed encounters in surrealist and postmodern writing
Deeply influenced by Duchamp's hybrid aesthetics, American Postmodern writers such as Donald Barthelme and Thomas Pynchon, and the performance artist Laurie Anderson, represent metropolis as a “geographical incest”, as a plural, entropic semiosphere which transcends the notion of urban community to become the tolerant receptacle of an ethnic and discoursive multiplicity, an electronic area of linguistic collisions translatable in new fragmented and unfinished narratives. Evoking the assemblages of Abstract Expressionists, the debris of Simon Rodia “junk art”, and the hybrid language of Postmodern architecture, this neo-Surrealist narrative discourse transforms the epiphanic traces envisioned by the Baudelairian and Bretonian heroes in partial parodies, in enigmatic fragments whose ultimate source transcends the narrator's knowledge. The conceptual strategy which is constitutive of these texts implicitly asks the puzzled reader to disentangle the entropic plots, immerging him in the midst of a “linguistic wilderness,” where all opposites - fact and fiction, man and machine, man and female - enigmatically and humorously coexist.
Common Traditions and New Developments
Edited by Monika Fludernik
[First paragraph]The Caribbean Postcolonial: Social Equality, Post-Nationalism and Cultural Hybridity. Shalini Puri. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. ix + 300 pp. (Paper US$ 24.95)Miraculous Weapons: Revolutionary Ideology in Caribbean Culture. Joy A.I. Mahabir. New York: Peter Lang, 2003. ix + 167 pp. (Cloth US$ 58.95)The relation between cultural production and political struggle, and between the aesthetic and the material as expressions of social relations, are absolutely central themes within Caribbean studies in all of its disciplinary and interdisciplinary guises. A key question for the field as a whole is what role it might play in generating new approaches to “cultural political economy,” which is emerging as an effective bridging concept at the intersections of anthropology, sociology, economics, political theory, and literary and cultural studies.
[First paragraph]Nation Dance: Religion, Identity, and Cultural Difference in the Caribbean. PATRICK TAYLOR (ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. x +220 pp. (Paper US$ 19.95)Translating Kali 's Feast: The Goddess in Indo-Caribbean Ritual and Fiction. STEPHANOS STEPHANIDES with KARNA SINGH. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000. xii + 200 pp. (Paper US$ 19.00)Between Babel and Pentecost: Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America. ANDRÉ CORTEN & RUTH MARSHALL-FRATANI (eds.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. 270 pp. (Paper US$ 22.95)Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions. STEPHEN D. GLAZIER (ed.). New York: Routledge, 2001. xx + 452 pp. (Cloth US$ 125.00)As paradigms and perspectives change within and across academie disciplines, certain motifs remain at the crux of our inquiries. Evident in these four new works on African and New World African and South Asian religions are two motifs that have long defined the Caribbean: the relationship between cultural transformation and cultural continuity, and that between cultural diversity and cultural commonality. In approaching religion from such revisionist sites as poststructuralism, diaspora, hybridity, and creolization, however, the works reviewed here attempt to move toward new and more productive ways of thinking about cultures and histories in the Americas. In the process, other questions arise. Particularly, can what are essentially redirected language and methodologies in the spirit of postmodern interventions teil us more about local interpretation, experience, and agency among Caribbean, African American, and African peoples than can more traditional approaches? While it is up to individual readers to decide this for themselves, my own feeling is that it is altogether a good thing that these works still echo long-standing conundrums: the Herskovits/Frazier debate over cultural origins, the tensions of assimilation in "plural societies," and the significance of religion in everyday life. Perhaps one of the most important lessons that research in the Caribbean has for broader arenas of scholarship is that foundational questions are tenacious even in the face of paradigm shifts, yet can always generate new modes of inquiry, defying intellectual closure and neat resolution.
[First paragraph]Decolonizing the Text: Glissantian Readings in Caribbean and African-American Literatures. DEBRA L. ANDERSON. New York: Peter Lang, 1995. 118 pp. (Cloth US$46.95)L'Eau: Source d'une ecriture dans les litteratures feminines francophones. YOLANDE HELM (ed.). New York: Peter Lang, 1995. x + 295 pp. (Cloth US$ 65.95)Postcolonial Subjects: Francophone Women Writers. MARY JEAN GREEN, KAREN GOULD, MICHELINE RICE-MAXIMIN, KEITH L. WALKER & JACK A. YEAGER (eds.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. xxii + 359 pp. (Paper US$ 19.95)Statue cou coupe. ANNIE LE BRUN. Paris: Jean-Michel Place, 1996. 177 pp. (Paper FF 85.00) Although best remembered as a founding father of the Negritude movement along with Aime Cesaire, Leopold Senghor was from the very outset of his career equally committed - as both a poet and a politician - to what he felt were the inseparable concepts of la francophonie and metissage. Senghor's has been an unabashedly paradoxical vision, consistently addressing the unanswerable question of how one can be essentially a "black African" and at the same time (in Homi Bhabha's words) "something else besides" (1994:28). In his "Eloge du metissage," written in 1950, Senghor ably described the contradictions involved in assuming the hybrid identity of a metis (an identity that offers none of the comforting biological and/or cultural certainties - about "rhythm," "intuition," and such like - upon which the project of Negritude was founded): "too assimilated and yet not assimilated enough? Such is exactly our destiny as cultural metis. It's an unattractive role, difficult to take hold of; it's a necessary role if the conjuncture of the 'Union francaise' is to have any meaning. In the face of nationalisms, racisms, academicisms, it's the struggle for the freedom of the Soul - the freedom of Man" (1964:103). At first glance, this definition of the metis appears as dated as the crude essentialism with which Senghor's Negritude is now commonly identified: in linking the fate of the metis to that of the "Union francaise," that imperial federation of states created in the years following upon the end of the Second World War with the intention of putting a "new" face on the old French Empire, Senghor would seem to have doomed the metis and his "role ingrat" to obsolescence. By the end of the decade, the decolonization of French Africa had deprived the "Union franchise" of whatever "meaning" it might once have had. The uncompromisingly manichean rhetoric of opposition that flourished in the decolonization years (and that was most famously manipulated by Fanon in his 1961 Wretched of the Earth) had rendered especially unpalatable the complicities to which Senghor's (un)assimilated metis was subject and to which he also subjected himself in the name of a "humanism" that was around this same time itself becoming the object of an all-out assault in France at the hands of intellectuals like Foucault.
twelve essays examines work by a range of Caribbean writers, covering issues such as creolization and cross-cultural identity, migration, tourism, U.S. imperialism, political activism, and gender and sexuality. The unifying theme, argue the editors, is the hybridity of Caribbean culture and the way in