Caribbean Modernism

Dave Gunning

in The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199545445
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Caribbean Modernism

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
  • Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)


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This article examines the history of modernism in the Caribbean region. It explains that the distinctive features of the early twentieth-century response to encroaching modernity can be represented as the spoils of the colonial adventures of the previous century and earlier. The article discusses US-based Jamaican novelist Michael Thelwell's view on the solipsism and obsolescence of modernism within black writing, and Stephen Slemon's opinion that modernism can be seen as a wholesale appropriation and refiguration of non-Western artistic practices by a society utterly committed to the preservation of its traditional prerogatives for gender, race, and class privilege.

Keywords: modernism; Caribbean region; colonial adventures; Michael Thelwell; solipsism; black writing; Stephen Slemon; artistic practices; class privilege

Article.  7548 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)

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