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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The Ghosts of Lilith: Haunting narratives of witness and the postcolonial poetry of Shivanee Ramlochan
Author(s): Darroch, Fiona
Jasper, Alison
Keywords: Lilith
Issue Date: Dec-2021
Date Deposited: 8-Mar-2022
Citation: Darroch F & Jasper A (2021) The Ghosts of Lilith: Haunting narratives of witness and the postcolonial poetry of Shivanee Ramlochan. Literature and Theology, 35 (4), pp. 433-448.
Abstract: This article discusses some of the themes and implications of Lilith’s story. After setting the figure of Lilith in an historical context of Sumerian demonology and first millennium CE Babylonian midrash, we reflect on the current critical, feminist, postcolonial, and poetic up-take of this curious tale of Adam’s first wife. We consider how Lilith’s story appears in these readings, woven through migrated narratives of loss and trauma drawn from widely different communities, as a thread of ghostly witness to suffering and resilience within the everyday lives of women and others who have been bound by heteropatriarchal and colonial tropes and traditions, to the materiality of the body in birth, vulnerability to violence and death. Briefly illustrating Lilith as expressed in George MacDonald’s Lilith (1895), we draw on the work of Gayatri Spivak and Mayra Rivera to explore contemporary traces of Lilith’s presence in the writings ofAlicia Ostriker and, especially, Trinidadian poet, Shivanee Ramlochan. In reference to Ramlochan’s debut collection, Everyone Knows I am a Haunting (2017) we consider how Lilith is used to challenge these limiting tropes and traditions, giving value to complex identities and material existences that resist efforts to impose silence or contest memories that trouble and unsettle.
DOI Link: 10.1093/litthe/frab029
Rights: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press 2022. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
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