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Title: Caribbean Connections: Comparing Modern Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean Literature, 1950s - Present
Author(s): Brüning, Angela
Supervisor(s): Procter, James,
Murphy, David
Issue Date: Aug-2006
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: In this thesis I investigate connections between modern Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean fiction between the 1950s and the present. My study brings into focus literary representations of inter-related histories and cultures and problematises the fragmentation of Caribbean studies into separate academic disciplines. The disciplinary compartmentalisation of Caribbean studies into English studies on the one hand and French and Francophone studies on the other has contributed to a reading of Caribbean literature within separate linguistic spheres. This division is strikingly reflected in the scarcity of any sustained literary criticism that acknowledges cultural and literary interpenetration within the archipelago. My comparative study of selected Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean fiction allows me to account for the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and historical diversity of Caribbean societies while, at the same time, foregrounding their inter-relatedness. Through a series of specific case studies the thesis illuminates ways in which theoretical concepts and literary tropes have travelled within the archipelago. Through a close reading of selected narrative fiction I will contextualise and analyse significant underlying linguistic, ethnic and cultural links between the various Caribbean societies which are largely based on the shared history of slavery, colonialism and decolonisation processes. The themes of migration, transformation and creolisation will be at the centre of my investigation. Chapter One establishes the historical and literary-critical framework for this thesis by engaging with key developments in Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean writing from the 1920s until the present. My comparison of the most influential trends in both Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean literature and criticism from the discourse of négritude to postcolonial studies seeks to highlight connections between these two linguistically divided fields of study. The analysis of Caribbean fiction in Chapters Two to Four pursues such theoretical, stylistic and thematic links further. Chapter Two challenges the conception of postwar Antillean and West Indian writing produced in the metropolis as distinct literary canons by drawing attention to thematic connections between the two traditions. Through the comparison of The Lonely Londoners by Samuel Selvon and La Fête à Paris by Joseph Zobel it argues that these continuities represent a wider trend in ‘black European’ writing. Chapter Three examines concepts of cultural identity which have been central to Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean literature and criticism during the last two decades. Specifically it focuses on the notions of hybridity, créolité/creoleness and créolisation/creolisation which it discusses in relation to Robert Antoni’s novel Divina Trace and Patrick Chamoiseau’s Texaco. The final chapter focuses on Shani Mootoo’s and Gisèle Pineau’s representations of specific female experiences of trauma which are related to reiterated colonial violence. Their fictional portrayal of suppressed memories can be read in light of recent critical debates about a collective remembrance of the history of slavery and colonialism.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Literature and Languages

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