Given the importance of literature to various forms of social cohesion, it is not surprising that the European and US empires that have dominated the geopolitical existence of the insular Caribbean have not readily invested in literary infrastructure throughout the archipelago. The impact of empire on infrastructure for the production of Caribbean literature remains underexamined at large, however. Accounting for the political and economic dimensions of the literary power produced by empire would contribute to the denaturalization of such power, and, this essay argues, decolonize the terms of literary value. The author illuminates the centrality of literary infrastructure to Caribbean literary history through a reparative critique of Pascale Casanova’s theory of the world literary marketplace in dialogue with reflections by a contemporaneous set of highly influential authors from the francophone, hispanophone, and anglophone Caribbean: Aimé Césaire, Lino Novás Calvo, George Lamming, and V. S. Naipaul.

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