A ‘Conceptual Alliance’: ‘Interculturation’ in Robert Burns and Kamau Brathwaite

Leith Davis and Kristen Mahlis

in Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748637744
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652143 | DOI:
A ‘Conceptual Alliance’: ‘Interculturation’ in Robert Burns and Kamau Brathwaite

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This chapter adopts a rhizomatic approach derived from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, as Robert Burns is placed into conversation with the contemporary Barbadian writer, Kamau Brathwaite. It also proposes a map between Burns and Brathwaite that is ‘detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant modification’. Both Burns and Brathwaite have sought to introduce elements of orality into their print-based poetry; to counter the centrality of Standard English poetry with forms derived from their own environments; and to stress the importance of performativity in their work. In ‘History of the Voice’, Brathwaite identifies the pentameter as the dominant mode of English poetry. It has also suggested that one way of ‘unearthing’ neglected ‘anticolonial’ possibilities is to read not just through a ‘generative model’, looking for the roots of postcolonial thought in the work of previous colonial writers, but also to consider points of affiliation that are not necessarily generative.

Keywords: Robert Burns; Kamau Brathwaite; interculturation; Gilles Deleuze; Félix Guattari; English poetry; History of the Voice; orality

Chapter.  6415 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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