Locating the Destitute: Space and Identity in Caribbean Fiction

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University of Virginia Press, 2014 - Literary Criticism - 222 pages
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While postcolonial discourse in the Caribbean has drawn attention to colonialism's impact on space and spatial hierarchy, Stanka Radovic 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 RafaŽl 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.

Radovic 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.

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About the author (2014)

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

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