Calypso MagnoliaThe Crosscurrents of Caribbean and Southern Literature

Calypso MagnoliaThe Crosscurrents of Caribbean and Southern Literature

John Wharton Lowe

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9781469628882

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press

Abstract

John Lowe explodes old notions of region by exploring the effect of the Caribbean on Southern literature, and conversely, how the writers of the coastal U.S. have influenced artists “South of the South.” Two chapters consider how armed conflict - the Haitian Revolution and the U.S. Mexican War - created a new awareness of the South as the northern rim of the Caribbean. Other chapters pair writers whose works map out the “Caribbean Imaginary” (Martin Delany and Lucy Holcombe Pickens); the idea of the “transnational South (Constance Fenimore Woolson and Lafcadio Hearn); common folk cultures (Claude McKay and Zora Neale Hurston); and overlapping narratives of resistance (Richard Wright and George Lamming). The final chapter insists on the inclusion of Cuban American writers in the canon of Southern literature, while demonstrating their importance to the emerging concept of the circumCaribbean. Employing key critics of Caribbean and post-colonial literature, such as Édouard Glissant, Antonio Benitez-Rojo, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Franz Fanon, Wilson Harris, Valerie Loichot, J. Michael Dash, Aimé Césaire, and Edward Said, Lowe’s reading are contextualized with hemispheric history, especially that of Cuba, Haiti, Barbados, Jamaica, Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida. His readings revolve around innovative concepts of the Caribbean imaginary and the tropical sublime, and interrogate recent critical categories, such as diaspora, the Black Atlantic, and new approaches to colonialism and post-colonialism. Calypso Magnolia contributes a striking reconfiguration of the “New Southern Studies,” the global South, and hemispheric and Atlantic Studies.