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Beyond WindrushRethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature$
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J. Dillon Brown and Leah Reade Rosenberg

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628464757

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628464757.001.0001

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date: 18 December 2017

Elma Napier’s Literary Sense of Place

Elma Napier’s Literary Sense of Place

Chapter:
(p.113) Elma Napier’s Literary Sense of Place
Source:
Beyond Windrush
Author(s):

Evelyn O’callaghan

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628464757.003.0007

This chapter engages with the writing of the Scottish-born, Dominican-resident Elma Napier, examining the process of canonization that has allowed this example of Caribbean writing deeply engaged – in terms of both politics and ecology – with the individual landscape of a particular island to be critically shunned. The chapter vividly recaptures the contours of Napier’s varied writing career (including journalism, the novel A Flying Fish Whispered, and her memoir Black and White Sands) and the ways it interacted with her concrete political activities in Dominica. In doing so, it positions Napier as a crucially important cultural producer whose authorial modes – invested in local, ecological politics rather than those of national autonomy – combined with her identity as a white, foreign-born landowner, led to the exclusion of her work from most Caribbean literary-critical discussions. Returning to this overlooked writer’s work, the chapter argues, eschews traditional Caribbean identity politics to reveal a mid-century proto-ecological discourse that assumes increasing relevance as the depredations of global capitalism continue to impact the post-independence Caribbean environment.

Keywords:   Elma Napier, Dominica, Canonization, Ecology, Identity politics

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