Rewriting the Caribbean Nation

Literary Authorship and the Diasporic Imagination

Authored by: Preziuso Marika

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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This chapter explores two recent examples of novels by Dominican-American writers, in which literary authorship operates as a trope to rethink the political and rhetorical authority that lies behind the project of the Caribbean nation. By deconstructing the nation as constituted by the body of the ‘imagined community’ (Anderson 1983), Junot Diaz and Julia Alvarez invite a reflection on the complexities inherent in the postcolonial Caribbean. Hence, their writing is in line with an approach to the Caribbean that is essentially ‘diasporic’. By ‘diasporic’ I refer here less to the space and identity that stand outside and even in opposition to the Caribbean nation, both as a project and as a reality, and more to the perspective informed by the many ‘diasporas’ that have sedimented throughout the history of the region. These diasporas are inherent in Caribbean identity and they mark the physical displacements, as well as the emotional ruptures and historical dispossessions that make up the contemporary postcolonial Caribbean. Their long presence suggests the need for a definition of the Caribbean nation through trans-national and super-national perspectives.

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