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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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Elma Napier’s Literary Sense of Place

Elma Napier’s Literary Sense of Place

(p.113) Elma Napier’s Literary Sense of Place
Beyond Windrush

Evelyn O’callaghan

University Press of Mississippi

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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