Perhaps there is no other region in the world that has been more radically altered in terms of human and botanic migration, transplantation, and settlement than the Caribbean. Theorists such as Edouard Glissant argue that the dialectic between Caribbean "nature" and "culture," engendered by this unique and troubled history, has not heretofore been brought into productive relation. Caribbean Literature and the Environment redresses this omission by gathering together eighteen essays that consider the relationship between human and natural history. The result is the first volume to examine the literatures of the Caribbean from an ecocritical perspective in all language areas of the region.
In its exploration of the relationship between nature and culture, this collection focuses on four overlapping themes: how Caribbean texts inscribe the environmental impact of colonial and plantation economies; how colonial myths of edenic and natural origins are revisioned; what the connections are between histories of biotic and cultural creolization; and how a Caribbean aesthetics might usefully articulate a means to preserve sustainability in the context of tourism and globalization. By creating a dialogue between the growing field of ecological literary studies, which has primarily been concerned with white settler narratives, and Caribbean cultural production, especially the region’s negotiation of complex racial and ethnic legacies, these essays explore the ways in which the history of transplantation and settlement has provided unique challenges and opportunities for establishing a sense of place and an environmental ethic in the Caribbean.
The volume includes an extensive introduction by the editors and essays by Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Derek Walcott, Wilson Harris, Cyril Dabydeen, Trenton Hickman, Shona Jackson, LeGrace Benson, Jana Evans Braziel, George B. Handley, Renee K. Grossman, Isabel Hoving, Natasha Tinsley, Helen Tiffen, Hena Maes-Jelinek, Heidi Bojsen, Ineke Phaf-Reinberger, Eric Prieto, and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, as well as interviews with Walcott and Raphaël Confiant. It will appeal to all those interested in Caribbean, literary, and ecocritical studies.
About the Author
Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey is Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University. Renée K. Gosson is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Bucknell University. George B. Handley is Associate Professor of the Humanities at Brigham Young University and author of Postslavery Literatures in the Americas: Family Portraits in Black and White.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Part 1: Natural Histories
Sugar and the Environment in Cuba (Antonio Benitez-Rojo)
Isla Incognita (Derek Walcott)
Shaping the Environment: Sugar Plantation, or Life after Indentured Labor (Cyril Dabydeen)
Coffee and Colonialism in Julia Alvarez's A Cafecito Story (Trenton Hickman)
Part 2: Myths of Origins
Subjection and Resistance in the Transformation of Guyana's Mytho-Colonial Landscape (Shona N. Jackson)
A Long Bilingual Conversation Concerning Paradise Lost: Landscapes in Haitian Art (LeGrace Benson)
"Caribbean Genesis": Language, Gardens, Worlds (Jamaica Kincaid, Derek Walcott, Edouard Glissant)
" The Argument of the Outboard Motor": An Interview with Derek Walcott (George B. Handley)
Part 3: Hybridity and Creolization
Cultural and Environmental Assimilation in Martinique: An Interview with Raphael Confiant (Renée K. Gosson)
Moving the Caribbean Landscape: Cereus Blooms at Night as a Re-imagination of the Caribbean Environment (Isabel Hoving)
"Rosebud is my mama, stanfaste is my papa": Hybrid Landscapes and Sexualities in Surinamese Oral Literature (Natasha Tinsley)
" He of the Trees": Nature, Environment, and the Creole Religiosities in Caribbean Literature (Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert)
Part 4: Aesthetics of the Earth
" Man Fitting the Landscape": Nature, Culture, and Colonialism (Helen Tiffin)
Flashbacks of an Orchid: Rhizomatic Narration in Patrick Chamoiseau's Biblique des derniers gestes (Heidi Bojsen)
Landscapes, Narratives, and Tropical Nature: Creole Modernity in Suriname (Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger)
The Uses of Landscape: Ecocriticism and Martinican Cultural Theory ((Eric Prieto)
From Living Nature to Borderless Culture in Wilson Harris's Work (Hena Maes-Jelinek)
Epilogue: Theater of the Arts (Wilson Harris)