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Jamaica's Difficult Subjects.

Jamaica's Difficult Subjects

Sheri-Marie Harrison

Ohio State University Press

180 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1002

http://www.ohiostatepress.org

9780814212639, $59.95, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Recognizing that in the contemporary postcolonial moment, national identity and cultural nationalism are no longer the primary modes of imagining sovereignty, in "Jamaica's Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism", Sheri-Marie Harrison (Assistant Professor of English, University of Missouri) argues that postcolonial critics must move beyond an identity-based orthodoxy as they examine problems of sovereignty. Professor Harrison describes what she calls "difficult subjects"--subjects that disrupt essentialized notions of identity as equivalent to sovereignty. She argues that these subjects function as a call for postcolonial critics to broaden their critical horizons beyond the usual questions of national identity and exclusion/inclusion. Harrison turns to Jamaican novels, creative nonfiction, and films from the 1960s to the present and demonstrates how they complicate standard notions of the relationship between national identity and sovereignty. She constructs a lineage between the difficult subjects in classic Caribbean texts like 'Wide Sargasso Sea' by Jean Rhys and 'The Harder They Come' by Perry Henzell, as well as contemporary writing by Marlon James and Patricia Powell. What results is a sweeping new history of Caribbean literature and criticism that reconfigures how we understand both past and present writing. "Jamaica's Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism" rethinks how sovereignty is imagined, organized, and policed in the postcolonial Caribbean, opening new possibilities for reading multiple generations of Caribbean writing.

Critique: An informed and informative work that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Jamaica's Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism" is an impressive and original study that is enhanced with the inclusion of an eight page Bibliography and a comprehensive Index. Very highly recommended for academic library Literary Studies reference collections, it should be noted that "Jamaica's Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism" is also available in a Multimedia CD edition ($14.95).

Michael J. Carson

Reviewer

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Author:Carson, Michael J.
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Words:341
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