This book explores representations of Obeah, a name used in the English/Creole-speaking Caribbean to describe various African-inspired, syncretic Caribbean religious practices, across a range of prose fictions published in the twentieth century.
In the Caribbean and its diasporas, Obeah often manifests in the casting of spells and/or administering of baths and potions, and sometimes spirit possession, for the purposes of protection, revenge, health and wellbeing, and remains illegal in most Caribbean territories. Narratives of Obeah in West Indian Literature analyses texts that employ Obeah as a symbol of resistance to colonial ideology and marker of the black ‘folk’ aesthetics that are now constitutive of West Indian literary and cultural production. They foreground Obeah as a social and cultural logic both integral to and troublesome within the creation of such a thing as ‘West Indian’ literature and culture. The book explores the presentation of Obeah as an "unruly" narrative subject, allowing for subversion and resistance, as well as its significance in Afro-‘folk’ aesthetics which are now constitutive of West Indian literary and cultural production.
Narratives of Obeah in West Indian Literature will be of interest to scholars and students of Caribbean Literature, Diaspora Studies, and African and Caribbean religious studies, as well as more widely to scholars of the Black Atlantic.
1. "Too much row an contention is in this yard:" Contemplating Cacophony in Beacon Barrack-yard Novels
2. "It is the reader who constructs a story:" Obeah and Cultural Identity in the Midcentury West Indian Short Story
3. "Part of the narrative of modern art yet not central enough to be considered constitutive:" "Primitive Modern" in Banana Bottom and Wide Sargasso Sea
4. "In a zone of direct contact with developing reality:" Obeahmen as Heroes, in Novels of Independence
5. "The peace of those she must touch and who must touch her:" Obeah as Healing in Erna Brodber’s Myal