Locating the Destitute: Space and Identity in Caribbean Fiction

Locating the Destitute: Space and Identity in Caribbean Fiction

by Stanka Radovic


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Locating the Destitute: Space and Identity in Caribbean Fiction by Stanka Radovic

While postcolonial discourse in the Caribbean has drawn attention to colonialism’s impact on space and spatial hierarchy, Stanka Radović asks both how ordinary people as "users" of space have been excluded from active and autonomous participation in shaping their daily spatial reality and how they challenge this exclusion. In a comparative interdisciplinary reading of anglophone and francophone Caribbean literature and contemporary spatial theory, she focuses on the house as a literary figure and the ways that fiction and acts of storytelling resist the oppressive hierarchies of colonial and neocolonial domination. The author engages with the theories of Henri Lefebvre, Michel Foucault, and contemporary critical geographers, in addition to selected fiction by V. S. Naipaul, Patrick Chamoiseau, Beryl Gilroy, and Rafaël Confiant, to examine the novelists’ construction of narrative "houses" to reclaim not only actual or imaginary places but also the very conditions of self-representation.

Radović ultimately argues for the power of literary imagination to contest the limitations of geopolitical boundaries by emphasizing space and place as fundamental to our understanding of social and political identity. The physical places described in these texts crystallize the protagonists’ ambiguous and complex relationship to the New World. Space is, then, as the author shows, both a political fact and a powerful metaphor whose imaginary potential continually challenges its material limitations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813936291
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Publication date: 07/29/2014
Series: New World Studies Series
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Stanka Radović is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xi

Introduction 1

1 Caribbean Spatial Metaphors 27

2 A House of One's Own: Individual and Communal Spaces in the Caribbean "Yard Novel" 48

3 "No Admittance": V. S. Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas 77

4 Squatters in the Cathedral of the Written Word: Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco 105

5 Heterotopia of Old Age in Beryl Gilroy's Frangipani House 128

6 Upper and Lower Stories: Raphaël Confiant's L'Hôtel du Bon Plaisir 154

Conclusion 181

Notes 193

Bibliography 203

Index 217

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