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Caribbean Jewish Crossings

Literary History and Creative Practice
Edited by Sarah Phillips Casteel and Heidi Kaufman

BUY Cloth · 352 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813943282 · $79.50 · Oct 2019
BUY Paper · 352 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813943299 · $39.50 · Oct 2019
BUY Ebook · 352 pp. · ISBN 9780813943305 · $79.50 · Oct 2019

Caribbean Jewish Crossings is the first essay collection to consider the Caribbean's relationship to Jewishness through a literary lens. Although Caribbean novelists and poets regularly incorporate Jewish motifs in their work, scholars have neglected this strain in studies of Caribbean literature.

The book takes a pan-Caribbean approach, with chapters addressing the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone, and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. Part 1 traces the emergence of a Caribbean-Jewish literary culture in Suriname, St. Thomas, Jamaica, and Cuba from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century. Part 2 brings into focus Sephardic and crypto-Jewish motifs in contemporary Caribbean literature, while Part 3 turns to the question of colonialism and its relationship to Holocaust memory. The volume concludes with the compelling voices of contemporary Caribbean creative writers.


" Caribbean Jewish Crossings will make a significant contribution to diaspora, Caribbean, and Jewish studies, as well as to related fields (postcolonial, Holocaust, and American studies) because it provides a wide-ranging and accessible introduction to a largely overlooked yet critical aspect of Caribbean history and literary history. Sarah Phillips Casteel and Heidi Kaufman are the leading scholars in the field, and they have included an impressively broad selection of scholarship."

Leah Reade Rosenberg, University of Florida, author of Nationalism and the Formation of Caribbean Literature

On the heels on Sarah Phillips Casteel’s ground-breaking study of Jewishness in the Caribbean, Calypso Jews, this excellent collection, co-edited with Casteel and Heidi Kaufman, continues to explore this important and generally neglected nexus. The discourse around "Blacks and Jews" has often overlooked the historically and culturally rich points of intersection between these groups in the Caribbean. Diasporic Caribbean literature as well as native texts reflect these overlaps in fascinating ways that Caribbean Jewish Crossings, organized thematically, foregrounds. The anthology includes scholarly essays as well as creative and thoughtful works by Caribbean and other writers. A beautiful reflection from the thoughtful and prolific English-Caribbean writer Caryl Phillips tells the origin story of one of his most fascinating texts, The Nature of Blood. The novel, he tells us, was largely written out of the familiar spaces of New York, London, and St. Kitts, in Bangkok, in diaspora, in a state of foreignness. As he wove the stories together that would form into this intricate novel, Phillips was reminded how "appallingly circular history can be, how replete with ironies, how chilling.

Brett Ashley Kaplan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, author of Jewish Anxiety and the Novels of Philip Roth

A welcome addition to the nascent study of the intersections of Caribbean and Jewish studies, Caribbean Jewish Crossings enriches the fields conceptually and offers timely new readings of key historical and literary moments, figures, and texts. It offers a theoretical and critically rigorous framework for thinking about creoleness, diaspora, transculturation, and hybridity, as well as questions of identity, that is enormously valuable for those working in Caribbean connections and crossings of any sort.

The New West Indian Guide

A crucial and breathtaking book...

American Jewish History

About the Author(s): 

Sarah Phillips Casteel is Professor of English at Carleton University and the author of Second Arrivals: Landscape and Belonging in Contemporary Writing of the Americas(Virginia).

Heidi Kaufman is Associate Professor of English at the University of Oregon and the author of English Origins, Jewish Discourse, and the Nineteenth-Century British Novel: Reflections on a Nested Nation.

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