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Caribbean Literary Discourse, Caribbean Literary Discourse, 0817318070, 0-8173-1807-0, 978-0-8173-1807-9, 9780817318079, , , Caribbean Literary Discourse, 0817387021, 0-8173-8702-1, 978-0-8173-8702-0, 9780817387020,

Caribbean Literary Discourse
Voice and Cultural Identity in the Anglophone Caribbean

Trade Cloth
2014. 296 pp.
9 tables
978-0-8173-1807-9
Price:  $49.95 s
E Book
2014. 296 pp.
978-0-8173-8702-0
Price:  $49.95 d

Caribbean Literary Discourse is a study of the multicultural, multilingual, and Creolized languages that characterize Caribbean discourse, especially as reflected in the language choices that preoccupy creative writers.

Caribbean Literary Discourse
opens the challenging world of language choices and literary experiments characteristic of the multicultural and multilingual Caribbean. In these societies, the language of the master— English in Jamaica and Barbados—overlies the Creole languages of the majority. As literary critics and as creative writers, Barbara Lalla, Jean D’Costa, and Velma Pollard engage historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives to investigate the literature bred by this complex history. They trace the rise of local languages and literatures within the English speaking Caribbean, especially as reflected in the language choices of creative writers.

The study engages two problems: first, the historical reality that standard metropolitan English established by British colonialists dominates official economic, cultural, and political affairs in these former colonies, contesting the development of vernacular, Creole, and pidgin dialects even among the region’s indigenous population; and second, the fact that literary discourse developed under such conditions has received scant attention.

Caribbean Literary Discourse
explores the language choices that preoccupy creative writers in whose work vernacular discourse displays its multiplicity of origins, its elusive boundaries, and its most vexing issues. The authors address the degree to which language choice highlights political loyalties and tensions; the politics of identity, self-representation, and nationalism; the implications of code-switching—the ability to alternate deliberately between different languages, accents, or dialects—for identity in postcolonial society; the rich rhetorical and literary effects enabled by code-switching and the difficulties of acknowledging or teaching those ranges in traditional education systems; the longstanding interplay between oral and scribal culture; and the predominance of intertextuality in postcolonial and diasporic literature.

Barbara Lalla is an emerita professor of language and literature in the Department of Liberal Arts at the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She has written two novels as well as Postcolonialisms: Caribbean Rereading of Medieval English Discourse and Defining Jamaican Fiction: Marronage and the Discourse of Survival.

Jean D’Costa, Leavenworth Professor Emerita of Literature at Hamilton College, is a critic and children’s novelist. Lalla and D’Costa coauthored Language in Exile: Three Hundred Years of Jamaican Creole.

Velma Pollard is a retired senior lecturer in language education at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica. She is an authority on Rastafarian language and the author of a novel, two collections of short fiction, and five books of poetry. Her novella Karl won the Casa de las Americas Literary Prize in 1992.

“This excellent collection marries the analytic skills of three linguists with their competencies in literary criticism and makes a much-needed contribution to uncovering the extraordinary wealth of Caribbean literary discourse. The writers’ sensitivity to the topic of discourse and orthographic choice gains insight from the creative authorial experience of the three scholars.” —Maureen Warner-Lewis, author of Trinidad Yoruba: From Mother Tongue to Memory

“This volume is both timely and marketable. Particular strengths include the historical/developmental focus, the analysis of language in literature, the combination of a wide overview of issues like orality and literacy, and changing attitudes towards the use of Creole in writing.” —Susanne Mühleisen, author of Creole Discourse: Exploring Prestige Formation and Change across Caribbean English-Lexicon Creoles

Also of Interest

Defining Jamaican Fiction
by Barbara Lalla


Language in Exile
by Barbara Lalla, Jean D'Costa


Voices in Exile
Edited by Jean D'Costa, Barbara Lalla


Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles
Julian Granberry and Gary Vescelius