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Thursday, 20 November 2008

"A literature of place"

The debate over Guyanese (and by extension Caribbean) literary authenticity continues: Ruel Johnson responds to Michael Gilkes via the Living Guyana blog.

A literature of place, even within an increasingly globalised world has to necessarily be anchored, rooted, in that particular place, not elsewhere -- a concrete place of genesis is necessary for memory, nostalgia, reminiscence and most importantly, reengagement....

Thus, for example, eighteen years of social conditioning in Guyana versus a subsequent thirty years of social conditioning in England, much of the latter coinciding with a literary career, would tend to create a writer (of British citizenship) producing a literature that has primarily British concerns, British sensibilities, and a British idiom, with Guyana barely at the periphery. How can we proclaim then that either the writer or his work is Guyanese by any definition, simply because the writer was born here?

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