By Jana Evans Braziel
Philosophical exploration of Jamaica Kincaid’s complete literary oeuvre.
By exploring the breadth of Jamaica Kincaid’s writings, this booklet unearths her work’s transmutations of style, in particular these of autobiography, biography, and heritage in relation to the forces of production and destruction within the Caribbean. Jana Evans Braziel examines Kincaid’s preoccupation with family tree, genesis, and genocide within the Caribbean; her diversifications of biblical texts for her literary oeuvre; and her authorial deployments of the diabolic as frames for either rethinking the obstacles of style and changing notions of subjectivity, objectivity, self, and different.
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Additional resources for Caribbean Genesis: Jamaica Kincaid and the Writing of New Worlds
Under no conditions did he wish any intimacy between the races, for it is a truism that “crossings between widely different races can lower the physical and mental level. . ” (“The Fact of Blackness” 120) In a later passage, he further parodies the genetic biases of such racialized sciences, referring to the thickness or thinness of chromosomes supposedly linked to cannibalism (120). But the imbrications of race and genre extend ALTERRAINS OF “BLACKNESS” 33 further. Boundaries of race, genre are walls to divide, but what walls out likewise walls in.
47). ” From the impersonal scene of “there is,” or “there are,” to the parenthetical insularity of “impatient demands,” questions and answers posed in parenthesis, Kincaid’s “Blackness” refuses the divisions of subject and object, of self and others, of interiority and exteriority, of internal and external spaces; these spaces are interpenetrating, traversing one another. The impersonality of Kincaid’s “there is” philosophically parallels and textually engages, however differently, both Heidegger’s notion of es gibt (“there is”) and Levinas’s notion of il y a (“there is”).
This story ends in a crescendo that is a celebration of the narrative “I,” but what kind of “I” is it who ends its song with the words, “I am no longer ‘I’ ” (BR, p. 52)? “Blackess” disrupts the concept of identity as One—of phallic identity. Like the ambivalence of the mother’s body that is One and Other at the same time (herself and the child she bears), this “I” can say: “the blackness cannot be separated from me but often I can stand outside it . . blackness is visible and yet it is invisible” (BR, p.
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