Cultural and literary issues in the Caribbean

Multiple Identities: Essays on Caribbean Literature

Author: Kumar Mahabir

Published in 2017 (XI+169 Pages)

Paperback ISBN 978-1-36-630431-5

This collection of eleven essays focuses on a variety of literary works by Caribbean writers.

Part One comprises critical perspectives on individual poems by A L Hendriks (‘Neighbour, Tenth Floor’), Mervyn Morris (‘Cave’), Eric Roach (‘I am the Archipelago’) and Anthony McNeill (‘Rimbaud Jingle’).

Part Two critiques individual novels by John Hearne (‘Voices Under the Window’), Wilson Harris (‘Palace of the Peacock’), George Lamming (‘In the Castle of My Skin’) and Earl Lovelace (‘The Dragon Can’t Dance’).

Part Three studies the works of VS Naipaul on his childhood and education.

Part Four analyses the Trinidad observance of Hosay/Muharram as a form of folk drama/street theatre.

The collection concludes with an Appendix which contains an exclusive record of a talk by Samuel Selvon to a few students in 1982.

About the Author

Dr Kumar Mahabir is Assistant Professor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

He obtained his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida and his BA and MPhil degrees in English Literature from the University of the West Indies.

The Foreword of the Book was written by Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh, Associate Professor and Reader in English and Postcolonial Literatures at York St John University in England.

Profound Analysis

Dr Virginia L Hampton, Assistant Professor in Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Belize, said: “The profound critical literary and cultural analysis in this anthology invites us to examine the tensions between the majority and minority in the English-speaking Caribbean, and ultimately, to forge our connections to one another in the Americas through the tensions and transformations wrought by miscegenation and hybridity, migration and creolisation.”

Professor Godfrey Brandt, FRSA, Visiting Professor of English, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria, Africa & Former Director of Education at The Commonwealth Institute, London and the Arts Council of Great Britain, said, “In this collection of essays, Dr Mahabir provides a crucial contribution to Caribbean literature, a complex canon of letters that has now certainly come of age. Mahabir’s work goes well beyond other approaches taken in analysing Caribbean literature. He recognises the contributions by well-known (VS Naipaul, Earl Lovelace, Samuel Selvon and George Lamming) and lesser-known stalwarts of Caribbean narrative.

Contextual cultural content

“The collection covers poetry, the novel and some contextual cultural content such as an informal talk by Samuel Selvon, a discussion on Hosay/Muharram, and the childhood and education of VS Naipaul. These elements add to a very rich and textured collection.

“All of Mahabir’s commentaries are characterised by a strong sense of the literary alongside the socio-historical aspects of the works which, for him [and rightly, I feel], are intertwined.

“This book is a must-read for students of literature as well as those with a passing interest in the field. It provides an entrée into the mind and language of the region with all of its similarities and contradictions.”

Copies of the book are available at major bookstores in Trinidad and Tobago.

Please contact Dr Kumar Mahabir on +868-674-6009 Email: dmahabir

Photo Caption:

Dr Kumar Mahabir

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