In This Chapter

Marlene Nourbese Philip

This Space/Dis/Place Between: The Poetics and Philosophy of Body, Voice and Silence

Authored by: Curdella Forbes

The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Print publication date:  June  2011
Online publication date:  June  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415485777
eBook ISBN: 9780203830352
Adobe ISBN: 9781136821745


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The contribution of Marlene NourbeSe Philip (NourbeSe’s) to Caribbean ideas and philosophy is enunciated through poetry, fiction, drama and theoretical essays. NourbeSe’s black Caribbean/Black Atlanticist feminist poetics is radical, yet remarkably resonant within the Caribbean tradition of ideas dominated by male writertheorists such as Césaire, Carpentier, Fanon, Harris, Lamming, Brathwaite, Walcott and Glissant. She shares a sensibility and epistemological standpoint shaped by the Caribbean experience of ‘living between’ spaces, cultures, histories, languages and traditions. This is manifest in NourbeSe’s refusal of literary categories as well as the ideational eclecticism that allows her to bring together levels of experience: body and consciousness; space, place and displace/ment; word, silence and voice, in a complex, multi-layered poetics. Yet NourbeSe’s concept of ‘the space (dis/place) between’ proposes a more revolutionary poetics marked by her inclusive, yet adversarial and fiercely feminist gender perspective. Her recognition that sexuality and sexual histories are coterminous with language and histories of language in the Caribbean’s encounters with colonialism, identity and subjectivity; and her theoretical interpolation of the concept of Silence into Caribbean, African diasporan and feminist discourses on voice and the body represent important shifts in Caribbean thought.

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