Arguing for an understanding of the capitalist world-system as the interpretative horizon of world-literature, this essay considers how the formal and stylistic mannerisms of Edgar Mittelholzer's My Bones and My Flute (1955) register the contradictory inflection of capitalist modernity in Guyana. Specifically, it uses Mittelholzer's narrative as a means to approach these issues in environmental terms. The novel's amalgamation of Euro-American gothic tropes and Guyanese folklore, the author argues, registers the “bewitching” impact of the sugar industry on the socioecological development of Guyana. The analysis is framed by geographer Jason W. Moore's concept of “world-ecology,” which designates the epochal reorganization of the worldwide production of nature that was integral to the rise of the capitalist world-economy.
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Michael Niblett; Specters in the Forest: Gothic Form and World-Ecology in Edgar Mittelholzer's My Bones and My Flute. Small Axe 1 July 2014; 18 (2 (44)): 53–68. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-2739839
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