Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination

Hardcover | January 12, 2016

bySarah Phillips Casteel

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In original and insightful ways, Caribbean writers have turned to Jewish experiences of exodus and reinvention, from the Sephardim expelled from Iberia in the 1490s to the "Calypso Jews" who fled Europe for Trinidad in the 1930s. Examining these historical migrations through the lens of postwar Caribbean fiction and poetry, Sarah Phillips Casteel presents the first major study of representations of Jewishness in Caribbean literature. Bridging the gap between postcolonial and Jewish studies, Calypso Jews enriches cross-cultural investigations of Caribbean creolization.

Caribbean writers invoke both the 1492 expulsion and the Holocaust as part of their literary archaeology of slavery and its legacies. Despite the unequal and sometimes fraught relations between Blacks and Jews in the Caribbean before and after emancipation, Black-Jewish literary encounters reflect sympathy and identification more than antagonism and competition. Providing an alternative to U.S.-based critical narratives of Black-Jewish relations, Casteel reads Derek Walcott, Maryse Condé, Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen, and Paul Gilroy, among others, to reveal a distinctive interdiasporic literature.

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In original and insightful ways, Caribbean writers have turned to Jewish experiences of exodus and reinvention, from the Sephardim expelled from Iberia in the 1490s to the "Calypso Jews" who fled Europe for Trinidad in the 1930s. Examining these historical migrations through the lens of postwar Caribbean fiction and poetry, Sarah Phil...

Sarah Phillips Casteel is associate professor of English at Carleton University, where she holds a cross-appointment with the Institute of African Studies. She is the author of Second Arrivals: Landscape and Belonging in Contemporary Writing of the Americas and coeditor, with Winfried Siemerling, of Canada and Its Americas: Transnatio...

other books by Sarah Phillips Casteel

Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:January 12, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231174403

ISBN - 13:9780231174404

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionPart 1: 14921. Sephardism in Caribbean Literature: Derek Walcott's Pissarro2. Marranism and Creolization: Myriam Chancy and Michelle Cliff3. Port Jews in Slavery Fiction: Maryse Condé and David Dabydeen4. Plantation Jews in Slavery Fiction: Cynthia McLeod's JodensavannePart 2: Holocausts5. Calypso Jews: John Hearne and Jamaica Kincaid6. Between Camps: M. NourbeSe Philip and Michèle Maillet7. Writing Under the Sign of Anne Frank: Michelle Cliff and Caryl PhillipsConclusionNotesWorks CitedIndex

Editorial Reviews

Throughout Calypso Jews, Casteel makes a case for how hidden Sephardism has captured the imagination of culturally diverse authors post-slavery. The fullness and novelty of her research opens a fascinating dialogue on the intersections of black and Jewish relationships as revealed through Caribbean literature.