‘The last syllable of modernity’: Chaucer in the Caribbean
- 56 Downloads
In the wake of European conquest, multi-racial societies draw on diverse cultural resources in order to conceive of resilient post-conquest identities. This essay builds on Emily Greenwood’s argument that Anglophone Caribbean literary ‘misquotations’ from classical Latin should be read as signs of W.E.B. DuBois’s ‘double consciousness.’ My essay elaborates on this idea for medieval studies by analyzing references to Chaucer in the Anglophone Caribbean. First, this study examines writers who invoke Chaucer in critical essays that address race and literature (Roger Mais, V.S. Naipaul, Edward Kamau Brathwaite). Second, the essay explores an allusion to the Canterbury Tales in Jean Rhys’s short story ‘Again the Antilles’ as a catalyst for a virtuoso creole performance. Finally, the study considers how more recent writers appropriate Chaucer to convey diasporic understandings of race and gender.
This essay would not have been possible without Google and a host of other electronic archives, including subscription sources paid for by Dartmouth College. Abigail Macias provided timely research assistance: her work was funded by the Dartmouth Junior Research Scholar Program. Special thanks to my colleagues Reena Goldthree and Sam Vásquez for great conversation.
- Agbabi, P. 2000. The Wife of Bafa. Transformatrix, 69–70. Edinburgh, UK: Payback Press.Google Scholar
- Best, L. 1965. From Chaguaramas to Slavery? New World Quarterly 2 (1): 43–70.Google Scholar
- Bhabha, H.  1994. Of Mimicry and Man. In The Location of Culture, 85–92. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Bhabha, H.  1994. The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Brathwaite, E.K. 1970. Timehri. Savacou 2: 35–44.Google Scholar
- Brathwaite, E.K. 1984. History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry. London: New Beacon Books.Google Scholar
- Breeze, J. 2000. The Wife of Bath Speaks in Brixton Market. In The Arrival of Brighteye and other Poems, 62–64. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Bloodaxe Books.Google Scholar
- Breeze, J. 2009a. Interview. Video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euO4WMKSERc.
- Breeze, J. 2009b. The Wife of Bath Speaks in Brixton Market. Video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiyKat1QzbQ.
- Burrell, A., ed. 1908. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales for the Modern Reader. London: Dent.Google Scholar
- Clarke, A., 1980. Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack. Havana, Cuba: Casa de las Américas.Google Scholar
- Chaucer, G. 1987. The Canterbury Tales. In The Riverside Chaucer, 3rd edn., ed. L.D. Benson, et al. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
- Cooper, C. 2010a. From Beowulf to Bounty Killa: Or How I Ended Up Studying Slackness. Journal of West Indian Literature 18(2): 131–144.Google Scholar
- Cooper, C. 2010b. Telling Tales Out of School. The Jamaica Gleaner, 14 November, http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101114/cleisure/cleisure3.html.
- Dabydeen, D.  1990. On Not Being Milton: Nigger Talk in England Today. In The State of the Language, eds. C. Ricks and L. Michaels, 3–14. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Dance, D. 1985. Folklore from Contemporary Jamaicans. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee.Google Scholar
- Dubois, W.E.B.  1996. The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library, http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DubSoul.html.
- Edmondson, B. 1999. Making Men: Gender, Literary Authority, and Women’s Writing in Caribbean Narrative. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Figueroa, J.  1992. The Problems of a Writer Who Does Not Quite …. In The Chase: A Collection of Poems, 1941–1989, 137–143. Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press.Google Scholar
- Gates, H.L., Jr. 1988. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Glissant, E. 1990. Poétique de la relation. Paris, France: Gallimard.Google Scholar
- Goodman, J. 1998. Chivalry and Exploration, 1298–1630. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press.Google Scholar
- Gregg, V.M. 1995. Jean Rhys’s Historical Imagination: Reading and Writing the Creole. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
- James, C.L.R. 1989. West Indian Personality. Caribbean Quarterly 35(4): 11–13.Google Scholar
- Mais, R.  1996. Where the Roots Lie. In Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature, eds. A. Donnell and S.L. Welsh, 182–184. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Morris, M.  1992. Interview. In New World Adams: Conversations with Contemporary West Indian Writers, ed. D.C. Dance, 183–192. Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Books.Google Scholar
- Morris, M.  2005. Kamau Brathwaite. In Making West Indian Literature, 18–24. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers.Google Scholar
- Morris, M.  2005. Making West Indian Literature. In Making West Indian Literature, 1–17. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers.Google Scholar
- Naipaul, V.S. 1963. Mr Stone and the Knights Companion. London: André Deutsch.Google Scholar
- Naipaul, V.S.  1969. The Mimic Men. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Naipaul, V.S.  1972. Jasmine. In The Overcrowded Barracoon and Other Articles, 23–29. London: André Deutsch.Google Scholar
- Palgrave, F.T.  2006. Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language. Project Gutenberg EBook, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19221/19221-h/19221-h.htm.
- Raiskin, J. 1996. Snow on the Cane Fields: Women’s Writing and Creole Subjectivity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Rhys, J. 1968. Again the Antilles. In Tigers are Better-Looking, with a Selection from The Left Bank, 177–180. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Rhys, J.  1970. Again the Antilles. In The Left Bank and Other Stories, 93–97. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press.Google Scholar
- Rhys, J. 1987. Again the Antilles. In The Collected Short Stories, 39–41. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
- Scott, W.  1885. Woodstock, or the Cavalier. New York: John B. Alden.Google Scholar
- Selvon, S.  1987. The Lonely Londoners. Harlow, UK: Longman.Google Scholar
- Skeat, W.W., ed. 1903. Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Stouck, J. 1997. Locating Other Subjectivities in Jean Rhys’s ‘Again the Antilles.’ Jean Rhys Review 8 (1–2): 1–5.Google Scholar
- Thomas, S. 1999. The Worlding of Jean Rhys. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
- Thomas, S. 2013. Jean Rhys Remembering the ‘Riot.’ Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, Article 6, 10(1): 1–11.Google Scholar
- Tiffin, H. 1992. Rite of Reply: The Shorter Fiction of Jean Rhys. In Re-Siting the Queen’s English: Text and Tradition in Post-Colonial Literatures, eds. G. Whitlock and H. Tiffin, 67–79. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Rodopi, Google Books.Google Scholar
- Vendler, H. 1982. Poet of Two Worlds. New York Review of Books, March 4: 84–85.Google Scholar
- Walcott, D. 1962. Roots. In In a Green Night: Poems, 1940–1960, 60–61. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
- Walcott, D.  1986. The Flock. In Collected Poems, 1948–1984, 77–78. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
- Walcott, D.  1998. The Muse of History. In What the Twilight Says: Essays, 36–64. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
- Walcott, D.  1998. C.L.R. James. In What the Twilight Says: Essays, 115–120. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
- Walcott, D.  1998. The Garden Path: V. S. Naipaul. In What the Twilight Says: Essays, 121–133. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
- Walcott, D. 1990. Omeros. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux.Google Scholar