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Palgrave Macmillan

Desire Between Women in Caribbean Literature

ISBN 9781137340078
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series New Caribbean Studies

Relations between women - like the branches and roots of the mangrove - twist around, across, and within others as they pervade Caribbean letters. While relations between women are incorporated into the novels of José Martí, Mayotte Capécia, Maryse Condé, Jamaica Kincaid, Patricia Powell, and Rosario Ferré, little has been written about them. Desire between Women in Caribbean Literature elucidates the place of desire between women in Caribbean literature, compelling readers to rethink how we read the structures as well as the practices of sexuality.

Keja Valens is Associate Professor of English at Salem State University, USA. She is the co-editor of Passing Lines: Immigration and Sexuality, with Bradley Epps and Bill Johnson-Gonzalez, and of the forthcoming Barbara Johnson Reader, with Bill Johnson-Gonzalez, Melissa Feuerstein, and Lili Porten.

Introduction: The Epistemology of the Mangrove
1. José Martí's Foundational Failure
2. Lost Idyll: Mayotte Capécia's Je suis Martiniquaise
3. Replaced Origins: Maryse Condé's Moi Tituba sorcière…noire de Salem
4. Plotting Desire between Girls: Jamaica Kincaid's At the Bottom of the River
5. Sexual Alternatives in Patricia Powell's Me Dying Trial
6. The Love of Neighbors: Rosario Ferré's Eccentric Neighborhoods/Vecindarios eccéntricos


"Desire Between Women in Caribbean Literature ranges effortlessly and impressively across Francophone, Hispanic, and Anglophone Caribbean literary worlds in order to reveal a much more inclusive model of sexual relations and desires between women than is commonly anticipated or discussed. Valens's comparative methodology and her emphasis on plural and plastic sexual behaviours work together to narrate a regional female erotic culture through literature that makes an insightful contribution to Caribbean sexuality studies." - Alison Donnell, Professor of Modern Literatures in English, University of Reading, UK, and author of Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History
"Desire Between Women in Caribbean Literature counters the marginalization and invisibility of women's intimacies without dissolving their opacity. Focusing on the 'mangled' quality of these relations, Valens sees complexity and darkness as integral to an erotics of survival. At once an ambitious work of literary history and a major intervention in gender and sexuality studies, Desire Between Women recasts relations of secrecy and knowledge through careful attention to the sensuous particularity of language, bodies, and place." - Heather Love, R. Jean Brownlee Term Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA
"Taking the mangrove, with its tangled roots and swampy thickets, as its dominant structuring metaphor, Desire between Women in Caribbean Literature moves beyond the epistemological assumptions and cultural biases of the closet, with its in-out spatial dynamics so dear to binary logic, oppositional modes of identity politics, and the cult of visibility. Drawing on a welter of texts from across the Caribbean, Valens offers a geo-poetic account of place, desire, and writing that overflows the foundational fictions of heteronormative romance without denying the 'mangled' force of traditions, roots, and customs." - Brad Epps, Professor of Spanish, University of Cambridge, UK
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