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See detailCaryl Phillips's Crossing the River and the Chorus of Archival Memory
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Conference (2017, May)

Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River (1993) has been extensively analysed by critics. While the novel has given rise to a number of readings, a constant in the various existing interpretations is that it ... [more ▼]

Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River (1993) has been extensively analysed by critics. While the novel has given rise to a number of readings, a constant in the various existing interpretations is that it invites the reader to listen to unheard voices from the past, that of the African father who sold his offspring into slavery and those of his children who are now spread over time and space. However, if one consults Caryl Phillips’s archives, which are housed by the Beinecke Library at Yale University, one becomes aware of another “chorus of a common memory,” made up of voices that did not make it into the book, but which are nonetheless important pieces in the writer’s diasporic puzzle. What I would like to do in this paper is retrieve these lost voices by looking at Phillips’s archives, notably at an early unpublished radio play entitled “Crossing the River” and at the early drafts of the third section of the eponymous novel, and see how these documents relate to the novel’s final published version. Such a reading will enable to trace the literary genesis of one of Phillips’s most popular texts while also allowing us to imagine what the book would have been like if Phillips had made different choices. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Mad Exotic in Caribbean Literature: Stories of Marginalisation, Commodification and Empowerment
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Conference (2017, March)

Caribbean literature is replete with migrant figures that are viewed as both exotic and mad. Victims of what Graham Huggan has called “a particular mode of aesthetic perception”, these characters ... [more ▼]

Caribbean literature is replete with migrant figures that are viewed as both exotic and mad. Victims of what Graham Huggan has called “a particular mode of aesthetic perception”, these characters distinguish themselves by their cultural difference which might inspire initial fascination, yet results in most cases in exploitative commodification often followed by radical rejection. The iconic example of such an occurrence is of course Antoinette aka Bertha Mason in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1960). I would like to analyse similar stories of exoticization followed by marginalisation written by West Indian authors (Rhys herself but also Erna Brodber and Dionne Brand), and examine to what extent their characters manage to subvert their so-called exoticism to take advantage of it and achieve empowerment, however ambiguous this might turn out to be. [less ▲]

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See detailCaribbean Writers and the Jewish Diaspora: A Shared Experience of Otherness
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Collier, Gordon; Davis, Geoffrey; Delrez, Marc (Eds.) et al The Cross-Cultural Legacy: Critical and Creative Writings in Memory of Hena Maes-Jelinek (2017)

As Paul Gilroy points out in The Black Atlantic (1993), a comparative approach to the African and Jewish Diasporas, in spite of possible pitfalls, is likely to lead to a better understanding of modernity ... [more ▼]

As Paul Gilroy points out in The Black Atlantic (1993), a comparative approach to the African and Jewish Diasporas, in spite of possible pitfalls, is likely to lead to a better understanding of modernity, characterized as it is by displacements but also by a propensity to discriminate against the ‘Other’. Several Caribbean authors have suggested in their writing parallels between the African and Jewish experiences of exclusion and extermination, between slavery and the Holocaust. This is especially the case with a generation of writers born in the Caribbean in the two decades after the Second World War and now based in the UK or the USA, such as Michelle Cliff, David Dabydeen, Caryl Phillips, and Lawrence Scott, who have addressed the commonalities between the two diasporas in their fiction and non-fiction. This essay highlights the coherence of these writers’ inclusive remembrance of black and Jewish suffering, and places their vision in the context of their attempts at self-definition, both collective and individual. [less ▲]

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See detailCaryl Phillips’s The Lost Child: A Story of Loss and Connection
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; O'Callaghan, Evelyn

in Ariel : A Review of International English Literature (2017), 48(3&4), 229-247

Through a reading of Caryl Phillips’ most recent novel, The Lost Child (2015), this article examines a paradox at the heart of Phillips’ work: the tension between the ruptures and continuities brought ... [more ▼]

Through a reading of Caryl Phillips’ most recent novel, The Lost Child (2015), this article examines a paradox at the heart of Phillips’ work: the tension between the ruptures and continuities brought about by the historical encounter of north and south (specifically, eighteenth-century northern Britain and the Caribbean). The novel focuses on the lot of the lost children who were born in the wake of such a fateful meeting and whose narratives are often missing from the literary and historical records even as their ghostly traces haunt today’s British society and indeed the British literary canon. Yet, as this essay demonstrates, the family disruptions and sense of loss, a legacy of slavery that mars the lives of the characters, are compensated at the fictional level by a form of literary parenthood. The novel relies on a fruitful intertextual conversation with other novels that, like The Lost Child, invest in the narrative reclamation of absent stories, the unvoiced accounts of orphans and lost, stolen, or denied children of the Empire. These texts include Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) as well as Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and some of Phillips’ earlier works, notably Cambridge (1991). [less ▲]

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See detailIntroduction: Thinking Caryl Phillips out of the box
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Ariel : A Review of International English Literature (2017), 48(3&4), 1-11

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See detailThe Cross-Cultural Legacy: Critical and Creative Writings in Memory of Hena Maes-Jelinek
Collier, Gordon; Davis, Geoffrey; Delrez, Marc ULiege et al

Book published by Brill/Rodopi (2017)

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See detailSpecial issue on Caryl Phillips
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Ariel : A Review of International English Literature (2017), 48(3&4), 1-247

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See detail"Competition out of the Ordinary: Roundtable on 'Top Research' in English Studies"
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Conference (2016, August 25)

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See detailThe Many Voices of Post-Colonial London: Language and Identity in Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000) and Andrea Levy's Small Island (2004)
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Wilson, Janet; Ringrose, Chris (Eds.) New Soundings in Postcolonial Writing. Critical and Creative Contours (2016)

This essay examines the role of language in Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000) and Andrea Levy's Small Island (2004), arguing that English in its various forms not only partakes in the shaping of ... [more ▼]

This essay examines the role of language in Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000) and Andrea Levy's Small Island (2004), arguing that English in its various forms not only partakes in the shaping of postcolonial human relations but also helps deconstruct rigid notions of identity, including that of Englishness. Nevertheless the two novels differ in certain respects: in Small Island Englishness emerges from a process of occasionally painful mutual adaptation and compromise, while in White Teeth Smith goes further in redefining Englishness as the expression of the human diversity at the heart of contemporary London. [less ▲]

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See detailReview of Abigail Ward, Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen, and Fred D’Aguiar: Representations of Slavery
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Moving Worlds : A Journal of Transcultural Writings (2016), 16(2), 114-116

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See detail'Other' Voices and the British Literary Canon
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Osborne, Deirdre (Ed.) The Cambridge Companion to British Black and Asian Writing, 1945-2010 (2016)

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See detail"De l'autre côté de la littérature": Dislocations génériques et autres dans Hotel Impala de Baloji
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Demart, Sarah; Abrassart, Gia (Eds.) Créer en postcolonie: 2010-2015 Voix et Dissidences belgo-congolaises (2016)

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See detailReview of Véronique Maisier’s Violence in Caribbean Literature: Stories of Stones and Blood
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Nieuwe West-Indische Gids = New West Indian Guide (2016), 90(3&4), 366-367

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See detailIdentités et stéréotypes postcoloniaux
Dony, Christophe ULiege; Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; Munos, Delphine ULiege et al

Conference given outside the academic context (2015)

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See detailHaunted by Loss: Caryl Phillips's Cambridge and The Lost Child
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; O'Callaghan, Evelyn

Conference (2015, May)

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