In This Chapter

Recognizing the Spirit

Indigenous Spirituality and Caribbean Literature

Authored by: Kei Miller

The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Print publication date:  June  2011
Online publication date:  June  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415485777
eBook ISBN: 9780203830352
Adobe ISBN: 9781136821745


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In the somewhat miraculous way that lecturers are able to say very small things that open up much larger worlds for their students, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies (Mona) once told her class, ‘there is something happening underneath the text’. She was speaking in reference to Erna Brober’s novel, Myal (1988), and it seemed to me then, as it seems to me now, that this is one of the more insightful things one could say about that text. Yet, despite this insightfulness, it is one of those things we might find difficult to expand upon; for how does one, in academic prose, venture into this world of the spiritual – a world which, by its very nature, resists substantiation or definition? (Forbes 2007). After all, the biblical saying goes, those who worship the Spirit must worship in Spirit; one is only supposed to perceive spiritual things with a spiritual (rather than a cerebral) receptor. Such logic, however, limits the ways readers are able to talk effectively and perceptively about texts like Myal set in Caribbean land- and spirit-scapes.

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