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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: (On) Reading Louise Bennett, Proverbially
Author(s): Lobban, Aileen S B
Supervisor(s): Robinson, Gemma
Ni Loingsigh, Aedin
Keywords: Louise Bennett
Jamaican Proverbs
Proverbial Thinking
Oral Performance
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2023
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: In this thesis I approach the works of Louise Bennett through the concept of proverbial thinking, which allows me to open a proverbial ‘conversation’ across all the genres she works in. As each chapter moves through an examination of Bennett’s poetry, monologues, Anancy stories and performances, I explore the impact of the proverbs in each one. I use Bennett’s own collection of proverbs, which I entitle the Proverb Manuscript, as a means of expanding the interpretations of the proverbs from within each genre. I argue that the moral and thematic headings under which Bennett places each proverb in the Proverb Manuscript become integral to my reading of the malleability of the proverb form. The openness of the concept of proverbial thinking also allows me to discuss many of the central topics which surround Bennett, whose career crucially straddles the shifting cultural moment when Jamaica gained independence. Throughout the thesis, I debate the interweaving of Creole and Standard English as a form of translation which in itself affords a greater degree of accessibility and of communication. Bennett’s diverse modes of communication prompted her to embrace the different media channels that were becoming more prevalent in the Caribbean and I look at the issues involved in presenting the oral form in printed text, recognising that this is often a complicated and circular process. Bennett was both a collector and a creative and in this thesis I identify that her process as a folklorist is to collect, preserve and recreate the various forms of folklore in her own art. This approach is what sets her apart from other collectors of Jamaican proverbs. I further argue that Bennett is grounded in the ‘local’ where the inclusion of the proverbs adds to this notion of localisation. Therefore, my observations of the multiplicity of proverbial thinking reflects the layers of complexity of Bennett herself as a commentator, an artist, and a storyteller of folklore, for she is never straightforward.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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