An Intellectual History Of The Caribbean

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The first intellectual history of the Caribbean written by a top Caribbean studies scholar, this book examines both writings penned by natives of the region as well as a body of texts interpretive of the region produced by Western authors. Stressing the experiential and cultural particularity of the Caribbean, the study considers four major questions: What art, literature or thought can come from the minds of people who have undergone a catastrophic history? What makes the conceptual paradigms fashioned by the Western intellectual industry capable of illuminating the distinct experience of Antilleans, but not vice versa? Do Antilleans lack the intellectual history required for the interpretation of culture, whether in their region or elsewhere in the world? Why is the specificity of Caribbean humanity such that it cannot be used as a paradigm for humanity as a whole?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Truly, holistically pan-Caribbean in conception, scope, analytical sweep, and particular vision, Silvio Torres Saillant's An Intellectual History of the Caribbean updates and moves appreciably forward the critical enterprise earlier begun with Gordon Lewis' Main Currents in Caribbean Thought and his own Caribbean Poetics and is a major and signally distinguished, wholly admirable achievement. An exceptional work of genuine synthesis, richly textured, thought-provoking, and persuasively argued, it deserves the widest possible readership."--Roberto Márquez,William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Mount Holyoke College

"This is a wonderful book of deeply impassioned scholarship, criticism and intellectual exploration. It should have impact far beyond its titular implications, offering new - "Caribbean" - paradigms for thinking about culture more generally, to replace now tired ones. Torres-Saillant provides a sure-to-be controversial analysis of the successes and failures of Caribbean discourses and their place in the establishment of new and solid cultural, political and economic realities and, at the same time, hope for developing a coherent and believable theory of Caribbean unity in history and letters, embedded in a real ecology, a real politics and a real history.--Timothy J. Reiss, New York University

"The Caribbean: the word itself creates a remarkable mosaic of meanings in various languages, times and places. For those who are not familiar with them, Torres-Saillan&tacute;s intensely personal book offers a nuanced introduction. For those who are, it is a most welcome invitation to rethink its intellectual struggles and creative traditions as well as its possible new beginnings."--Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones, Princeton University

"A must read for all Caribbeanists and researchers in diasporic studies. Torres-Saillant has given us the most thorough, grounded, and judicious appreciation of the field we are ever likely to see. His historical and theoretical analysis provides a powerful vision for decision makers in immigration and economic policy."--A. James Arnold, University of Virginia; Editor, A History of Literature in the Caribbean

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Silvio Torres-Saillant is Associate Professor of English and Director, Latino-Latin American Studies Program, Syracuse University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Caribbean Unity in Nature, in History, in Defeat
• Colonial Migration and Theoric Awakening: An Antillean's Voyage of Discovery
• The Neverending History: Western Discursive Siege
• Caliban's Betrayal: Failed Heroes, Memory Remade, New Ways to Hope
• Epilogue: A Century of Caribbean Diaspora

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