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By Jana Evans Braziel

Philosophical exploration of Jamaica Kincaid’s complete literary oeuvre.

By exploring the breadth of Jamaica Kincaid’s writings, this e-book finds her work’s transmutations of style, particularly these of autobiography, biography, and heritage in relation to the forces of construction and destruction within the Caribbean. Jana Evans Braziel examines Kincaid’s preoccupation with family tree, genesis, and genocide within the Caribbean; her variations of biblical texts for her literary oeuvre; and her authorial deployments of the diabolic as frames for either rethinking the barriers of style and changing notions of subjectivity, objectivity, self, and different.

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Extra info for Caribbean Genesis: Jamaica Kincaid and the Writing of New Worlds

Example text

This “knowledge of literature,” as Fanon well knows, is also a knowledge constructed according to racial difference, according to genre. Confronted by an inebriated French man on a train who laments the loss of “French virtues” (121), Fanon sardonically adds that “it must be said in his defense that he stank of cheap wine; if he had been capable of it, he would have told me that my emancipated-slave blood could not possibly be stirred by the name of Villon or Taine” (122). The reference to Hyppolite Taine is significant: it was Taine, following Herder and other German romantics, who first theorized the importance of race and nation for art, literature, and genre.

Within biblical accounts of creation, the a priori darkness casts a fundamentally ambivalent shadow over divine creation: if it exists a priori, before creation, then it exists outside of the reach of God’s creative hand. Kincaid draws on this fundamental ambivalence—the a priori nature of darkness within the created universe—to establish darkness as a field outside of divine or human intervention, a source of energy, power, and unbound nature that precedes the created world. As such, it remains beyond creation, even as it is separated or divided from creation (“And God separated the light from the darkness,” 1:4).

Now that I have spoken generally about the essay—its narratological complexity—as well as its thematic and ideological preoccupations, I want to return to Fanon’s extremely important idea about racial formation as it occurs at the interstices of language and society, of body and psyche: épidermalisation. For Fanon, épidermalisation is 34 CARIBBEAN GENESIS a form of triple consciousness that leads to self-dissection and ontological negation and psychological paralysis. “On that day, completely dislocated .

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