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Monday, May 14, 2012

The Preliminary PhD Reading List: Hard Times Ahead (or, Yay Caribbean Literature)

If you didn't know, I've been hard at work putting together my committee and reading list for my PhD exams, which I intend to take in March or April of next year.  The list will likely change in the next few weeks, given feedback from my director, but I thought you'd all like to see what I'm up to academically.

For those that don't know, I am writing my PhD on the relationship between the Caribbean and the space of Empire (spatiality).  In particular, my work will be an attempt to conceptualize how Empire is spatially constructed and how such constructions are reflected in the literature and resisted/manipulated/etc. by Caribbean peoples/characters/authors/etc.  The idea is to (hopefully) mold together my work on Hopkinson and Buckell for the MA into a larger project on Caribbean literature.

With that in mind, here is the list I've so far constructed.  Feel free to offer suggestions of your own, as this reading list is only for my exams and not necessarily for my final project.

Here goes:
(Early Period)
The English in the West Indies, Or, the Bow of Ulysses by James Anthony Froude
Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole
Rupert Gray, a Study in Black and White by Stephen N. Cobham

(Modern and Mid-20th Century)
Emmanuel Appadocca by Michel Maxwell Philip
Minty Alley by C. L. R. James
A Morning at the Office by Edgar Mittelholzer
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

The Enigma of Arrival by V. S. Naipaul
Frangipani House by Beryl Gilroy
Cambridge by Caryl Phillips
A Map to the Door of No Return:  Notes to Belonging by Dianne Brand

(Genre and Related Contemporary)
Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell
Ragamuffin by Tobias S. Buckell
Sly Mongoose by Tobias S. Buckell (note:  there is a fourth book coming out in this series, which I may add to this list at a later time)
Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Theory, History, etc.
(Spatial Theory)
The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre
The Urban Experience by David Harvey
The Road to Botany Bay:  An Essay in Spatial History by Paul Carter
The Archaeologies of the Future by Fredric Jameson
The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard

(Caribbean History, Postcolonial Theory, etc.)
Writing in Limbo by Simon Gikandi
Poetics of Relation by Edouard Glissant
The Repeating Island:  the Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective by Rojo Antonio Benitez
The Pleasures of Exile by George Lamming
The British Caribbean:  From the Decline of Colonialism to the End of Federation by Elisabeth Wallace

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1 comment:

  1. Depending on how you interpret "The Caribbean," there are a lot of Spanish and French-language writers that cover some of the themes you seem to be striking at (for purposes of my suggestion for consultation materials, I'm going to add Colombia):

    Alejo Carpentier (Cuban) - there are several works of his that dance around the issue of empire, but I think his The Lost Steps is a good place to start, along with Baroque Concert.

    Julia Alvarez (Dominican) - In the Time of the Butterflies deals with the Trujillo dictatorship of the mid-20th century.

    José Martí (Cuban) - so much of his late 19th century writing, both poetry and prose alike, is applicable here. I believe most of it has been translated into English in recent years. He's akin to the spiritual Father of the Cuban Revolution of the 1880s-1898.

    Giannina Braschi (Puerto Rican) - Her writings, whether they are in Spanish, Spanglish, or English or if they are prose or poetry, deal with the complex relationships of Puerto Ricans with the US (and by extension, Latin Americans with the US).

    Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Cuban) - A View of Dawn in the Tropics is one of several works, fiction and non-fiction alike, that he's written that touches upon some of the core issues.

    Gabriel García Márquez (Colombian) - OHYS alone would make for a good reference point, particularly the second half with the United Banana Company scenes. Autumn of the Patriarch is another applicable one.

    And if you include, as some occasionally do, Nicaragua in with the Caribbean, you will have two of the greatest Latin American poets of the 20th century, Rubén Darío and Ernesto Cardenal, to reference. Darío's poem on Teddy Roosevelt alone is worth noting, but there are several others of equal prowess and biting commentary on American imperialism.

    Sadly, I'm almost completely ignorant of Haitian literature, despite being able to speak a little bit of the language.