Allegories of Desire: Body, Nation, and Empire in Modern Caribbean Literature by Women
This book explores the relationship between famous and fictional Caribbean female bodies to literary and historical writing.
Through her concentration on the perspectives of women writers, her scrupulous attention to the specific histories of the different islands, her interest in diasporic as well as local writing, her embrace of texts in English, French, and Spanish, her insightful exploration of the poetics of allegory, Maude Adjarian invites us to undertake a fundamental rethinking of the concept of national allegory. This criticism is serious and substantial, scholarly and responsible, but also shrewd, engaging and very refreshing.Ross Chambers, Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, The University of Michigan
Caribbean writers and literary-cultural theorists have traditionally associated the Caribbean archipelago and Caribbeanness with the female body. In so doing, however, they have erased not only the bodies but the social, historical and national experiences of real Caribbean women. Allegories of Desire explores the relationship between famous and fictional Caribbean female bodies to literary and historical writing. By looking at the works of six post-1980 Caribbean women writer—Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, J. J. Dominique, Julia Alvarez and Rosario Ferre—M. M. Adjarian uncovers patterns of female bodily resistance to subordination and oppression. These patterns in turn identify the Caribbean and Caribbeanness with ungendered longings for freedom from the imperial twins of patriarchy and North Atlantic colonialism rather than with an imagined, and ultimately exploited, feminine. This compelling study will shed new light on Caribbean literature.
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