In Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere (2011), Raphael Dalleo draws on the concept of the field to note that Caribbean writers often “operate within a constrained set of possibilities governed by certain historically determined rules . . . from accommodation to opposition to more conflicted positions in-between.” Throughout her essays and fiction, the Jamaican writer, sociologist, and activist Erna Brodber recuperates discarded, illegible, or negative elements in the literary field of Caribbean literature. This essay argues that Brodber uses a mode of self-negation in her short novel Nothing’s Mat (2011) to open discursive space for individual and collective identities illegible within dominant theories of Caribbean literature such as pluralism or creolization: supernatural elements more readily identifiable in Latin American magical realism, a Pan-African vision decades after Negritude, and a commitment to the experiences of Afro-Caribbean womanhood.
Recuperating the Value of Nothing in Erna Brodber’s Short Novel Nothing’s Mat
Dashiell Moore is an early career researcher at the University of Sydney. His research interests include world literature, postcolonial theory, and Indigenous studies, with a particular concentration in modern and contemporary Caribbean, Australian, and Pacific writing in English. He has published scholarly articles in a number of key journals, including Textual Practice and the Journal of West Indian Literature. His book project “The Literary Mirroring of Aboriginal Australia and the Caribbean,” to be published by Oxford University Press, examines the relationship between Aboriginal Australian and Caribbean literature.
Dashiell Moore; Recuperating the Value of Nothing in Erna Brodber’s Short Novel Nothing’s Mat. Small Axe 1 July 2023; 27 (2 (71)): 18–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-10795181
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