Language conflict is a common feature of Caribbean literary production, but multilingual experimentation can be obscured by the scholarly organization of the region into blocs defined by colonial languages. Recent attention to literary multilingualism in comparative literature offers potential critical tools to investigate the region’s linguistic variability. However, European-focused scholarship prioritizes a national focus that cannot account for the complex relationships between colonial languages and Caribbean Creoles. This essay considers three works from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica: the anthology Palabras de una isla / Paroles d’une île, Juan Bosch’s story “Luis Pie,” and the Groundwork Theater Company’s Fallen Angel and the Devil Concubine. The author argues that these texts emphasize different critical priorities from the standard concerns of theorists of literary multilingualism. Consequently, these writers employ a broad range of literary strategies that enrich decolonial conversations about social transformation by imagining models of communication that challenge colonial language hierarchies.
Decolonial Multilingualism in the Caribbean
Shawn C. Gonzalez is a lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program. In her research, which focuses on multilingual writing from the Caribbean and the United States, she considers how creative representations of language conflict intersect with decolonial thought. Her other research and teaching interests include translation and multilingual pedagogies.
Shawn C. Gonzalez; Decolonial Multilingualism in the Caribbean. Small Axe 1 March 2020; 24 (1 (61)): 11–21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8190514
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