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Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere

From the Plantation to the Postcolonial
Raphael Dalleo

BUY Paper · 320 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813931999 · $32.50 · Oct 2011
BUY Cloth · 320 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813931982 · $65.00 · Oct 2011
BUY Ebook · 320 pp. · ISBN 9780813932026 · $32.50 · Oct 2011

Bringing together the most exciting recent archival work in anglophone, francophone, and hispanophone Caribbean studies, Raphael Dalleo constructs a new literary history of the region that is both comprehensive and innovative. He examines how changes in political, economic, and social structures have produced different sets of possibilities for writers to imagine their relationship to the institutions of the public sphere. In the process, he provides a new context for rereading such major writers as Mary Seacole, José Martí, Jacques Roumain, Claude McKay, Marie Chauvet, and George Lamming, while also drawing lesser-known figures into the story. Dalleo’s comparative approach will be important to Caribbeanists from all of the region’s linguistic traditions, and his book contributes even more broadly to debates in Latin American and postcolonial studies about postmodernity and globalization.


A lucid and compelling comparative study of Caribbean literary production and its historical background over two centuries. Dalleo’s command of a variety of writers and detailed engagement with secondary material is impressive. A remarkable critical synthesis that could inspire more comparative work.

Rodrigo Lazo, University of California, Irvine · author of Writing to Cuba: Filibustering and Cuban Exiles in the United States

This valuable study succeeds in its quest to model a different approach to the archive; it provides an original and challenging way of reading some well-known works, some minor works, and literary movements that span the Caribbean.

Sandra P. Paquet, University of Miami

Dalleo excavates lesser known literary ventures and writers as well as re-reading the conventional ‘greats’ in such a way as to deliver a genuinely fresh and valuable grasp on the social place of Caribbean writers and their own manoeuvres around this shifting location.

Review of English Studies

An ambitious, original study of the literary public sphere.

sx salon

"A valuable contribution to Caribbean studies."


The range of Dalleo’s scholarship and the care with which he marshalls argument are both impressive…an innovative and significant book…This book is a pleasure to read for its ideas because it demands the rethinking of old paradigms, but also for its language as it is written in a clear, provocative but very thoughtful voice.

Elaine Savory · Savannah Review

In Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere, Raphael Dalleo traces the development of the Caribbean literary public sphere over almost two centuries. In one of the very few comparative works covering anglophone, francophone, and hispanophone literature at once, Dalleo explores both canonical and lesser-known authors of the region to resituate the 1930s, not as a watershed era marking the beginnings of Caribbean literature, but rather as one moment in a long series of anticolonial efforts in the development of the Caribbean public ephere. Careful nevertheless to open his study acknowledging the problematic nature of periodization--in particular concerning the Caribbean with all its linguistic, historical, social diversity--Dalleo ultimately delivers a robust interdisciplinary work rooted in solid archival research.

Kritikon Litterarum

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