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See detail"A Growth to Understanding": An Interview with Caryl Phillips about Biographical Fiction
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; Tunca, Daria ULiege; Phillips, Caryl

in Journal of Commonwealth Literature (in press)

Starting from the recognition of a biographical impulse in the work of Caryl Phillips, this interview focuses on his practice of biographical fiction. Among the issues raised are the increased popularity ... [more ▼]

Starting from the recognition of a biographical impulse in the work of Caryl Phillips, this interview focuses on his practice of biographical fiction. Among the issues raised are the increased popularity of life writing, the tension between fact and fiction at the heart of biographical narratives, the linguistic exactitude involved in focusing on historical characters, the role of research in the exploration of human lives, and the importance of emotional truth in novels that deal with famous individuals. This conversation sheds light on Phillips’s specific approach to biofiction, particularly in his novels Dancing in the Dark (2005) and A View of the Empire at Sunset (2018), while also providing readers with a more general reflection on the genre in the postcolonial field. [less ▲]

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See detailIlluminating Lives: The Biographical Impulse in Postcolonial Literatures
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; Tunca, Daria ULiege

in Journal of Commonwealth Literature (in press)

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See detailWindrush: The Second Generation
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Scientific conference (2019, January 14)

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See detailLooking Beyond, Shifting the Gaze: Writers in Motion
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Nasta, Susheila; Stein, Mark (Eds.) The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Literature (2019)

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See detailThe Haunting Presence of Jean Rhys in Caryl Phillips's Fiction
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Conference (2018, June 22)

This paper will address the points of convergence between the work of Jean Rhys and that of Caryl Phillips, two writers, who in spite of gender, racial and generational differences, share a status as ... [more ▼]

This paper will address the points of convergence between the work of Jean Rhys and that of Caryl Phillips, two writers, who in spite of gender, racial and generational differences, share a status as diasporic artists from the Caribbean. I will first examine how Rhys’s literary ghost might be said to haunt Phillips’s fiction in terms of characterization, themes and style, with a special focus on his early novels, The Final Passage (1985), Higher Ground (1989) and Cambridge (1991). After looking at The Lost Child (2015), where Phillips combines the Rhysean and the Brontëan universes, I will conclude with a brief analysis of Phillips’s latest fiction, A View of the Empire at Sunset (2018). This biographical novel confirms Phillips’s fascination with the author from Dominica, but also testifies to his unique way of delving, with empathy and subtlety, into a life marked by exile and the inexorable impossibility of ever finding a home. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Caribbean and its Others in Jean Rhys and Caryl Phillips's Work
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Conference (2018, June 05)

Jean Rhys and Caryl Phillips are diasporic writers from the Caribbean who have openly connected their work with that of the canonical Brontë sisters. While Rhys is famous for writing back to Charlotte ... [more ▼]

Jean Rhys and Caryl Phillips are diasporic writers from the Caribbean who have openly connected their work with that of the canonical Brontë sisters. While Rhys is famous for writing back to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre in Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), Phillips has more recently responded to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights in The Lost Child (2015). Dramatising the tragic encounter between the Caribbean and its Northern English others, these four novels deal with questions of marginalization and exclusion, and from that perspective devote much space to mental derangement which, interestingly, is not only associated in these works with the colonial subjects, as the traditional prejudice goes, but also with their English counterparts. This paper will examine this reversal in the context of cultural decolonization. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Postcolonial Biographical Novel: Aesthetics and Ideologies
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; Tunca, Daria ULiege

Conference (2018, January)

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See detailMadness in Anglophone Caribbean Literature: On the Edge
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; O'Callaghan, Evelyn; Tunca, Daria ULiege

Book published by Palgrave (2018)

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See detail"Madness is rampant on this island": Writing Altered States in Anglophone Caribbean Literature
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; O'Callaghan, Evelyn; Tunca, Daria ULiege

in Ledent, Bénédicte; O'Callaghan, Evelyn; Tunca, Daria (Eds.) Madness in Anglophone Caribbean Literature: On the Edge (2018)

As outlined in this introductory chapter, this collection explores how Caribbean writers, including diasporic ones, accommodate altered states of consciousness, such as madness, and thereby reconfigure a ... [more ▼]

As outlined in this introductory chapter, this collection explores how Caribbean writers, including diasporic ones, accommodate altered states of consciousness, such as madness, and thereby reconfigure a space long constructed as a zone of degeneration and derangement. Taking as its starting point the pervasive representation of various forms of mental illness, breakdown and psychopathology in Caribbean literature, this introduction surveys the sparse extant criticism, and invites us to reassess the slippery meaning of such words as “mad”, “madness,” and semantically associated lexicon. This chapter also outlines how, dialoguing with texts and theories concerning affective and mental states that operate on planes other than the rational and the material, the contributors in three focused sections explore a richly evocative and often contradictory phenomenon, culturally constructed and often eluding precise depictions. The chapter closes by sketching other avenues for future research. [less ▲]

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See detailAlecia McKenzie, Sweetheart
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings (2018), 18(1), 128-129

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See detailRadio drama and its avatars in the work of Caryl Phillips
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Journal of Postcolonial Writing (2018), 54(1), 32-42

Between 1984 and 2016 Caryl Phillips wrote nine radio plays which were all broadcast on the BBC. Meant for a different circuit of communication than his novels, essays and published stage plays ... [more ▼]

Between 1984 and 2016 Caryl Phillips wrote nine radio plays which were all broadcast on the BBC. Meant for a different circuit of communication than his novels, essays and published stage plays, Phillips’s radio plays might be dismissed as minor writing, yet they constitute a fascinating, under-investigated body of texts which are worth exploring alongside the rest of his work. Thematically, Phillips’s radio drama covers similar ground to his fiction and essays. Starting from this sense of familiarity, this article examines the formal and communicative specificities at play in Phillips’s contributions to the radio drama genre. Focusing on two radio plays entitled Crossing the River (1985) and A Kind of Home: James Baldwin in Paris (2004), this piece discusses which features of this marginal genre inform Phillips’s radio-dramatic characterization of protagonists with complex identities, but also, more generally, how these aspects infuse his formally experimental fiction. [less ▲]

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See detail'Minor' Genres in Poscolonial Literatures
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege; Munos, Delphine ULiege

in Journal of Postcolonial Writing (2018), 54(1),

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See detail“Minor” genres in postcolonial literatures: New webs of meaning
Munos, Delphine ULiege; Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Journal of Postcolonial Writing (2018), 54(1), 1-5

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See detailCaryl Phillips's Crossing the River and the Chorus of Archival Memory
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Conference (2017, May)

Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River (1993) has been extensively analysed by critics. While the novel has given rise to a number of readings, a constant in the various existing interpretations is that it ... [more ▼]

Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River (1993) has been extensively analysed by critics. While the novel has given rise to a number of readings, a constant in the various existing interpretations is that it invites the reader to listen to unheard voices from the past, that of the African father who sold his offspring into slavery and those of his children who are now spread over time and space. However, if one consults Caryl Phillips’s archives, which are housed by the Beinecke Library at Yale University, one becomes aware of another “chorus of a common memory,” made up of voices that did not make it into the book, but which are nonetheless important pieces in the writer’s diasporic puzzle. What I would like to do in this paper is retrieve these lost voices by looking at Phillips’s archives, notably at an early unpublished radio play entitled “Crossing the River” and at the early drafts of the third section of the eponymous novel, and see how these documents relate to the novel’s final published version. Such a reading will enable to trace the literary genesis of one of Phillips’s most popular texts while also allowing us to imagine what the book would have been like if Phillips had made different choices. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Mad Exotic in Caribbean Literature: Stories of Marginalisation, Commodification and Empowerment
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

Conference (2017, March)

Caribbean literature is replete with migrant figures that are viewed as both exotic and mad. Victims of what Graham Huggan has called “a particular mode of aesthetic perception”, these characters ... [more ▼]

Caribbean literature is replete with migrant figures that are viewed as both exotic and mad. Victims of what Graham Huggan has called “a particular mode of aesthetic perception”, these characters distinguish themselves by their cultural difference which might inspire initial fascination, yet results in most cases in exploitative commodification often followed by radical rejection. The iconic example of such an occurrence is of course Antoinette aka Bertha Mason in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1960). I would like to analyse similar stories of exoticization followed by marginalisation written by West Indian authors (Rhys herself but also Erna Brodber and Dionne Brand), and examine to what extent their characters manage to subvert their so-called exoticism to take advantage of it and achieve empowerment, however ambiguous this might turn out to be. [less ▲]

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See detailCaribbean Writers and the Jewish Diaspora: A Shared Experience of Otherness
Ledent, Bénédicte ULiege

in Collier, Gordon; Davis, Geoffrey; Delrez, Marc (Eds.) et al The Cross-Cultural Legacy: Critical and Creative Writings in Memory of Hena Maes-Jelinek (2017)

As Paul Gilroy points out in The Black Atlantic (1993), a comparative approach to the African and Jewish Diasporas, in spite of possible pitfalls, is likely to lead to a better understanding of modernity ... [more ▼]

As Paul Gilroy points out in The Black Atlantic (1993), a comparative approach to the African and Jewish Diasporas, in spite of possible pitfalls, is likely to lead to a better understanding of modernity, characterized as it is by displacements but also by a propensity to discriminate against the ‘Other’. Several Caribbean authors have suggested in their writing parallels between the African and Jewish experiences of exclusion and extermination, between slavery and the Holocaust. This is especially the case with a generation of writers born in the Caribbean in the two decades after the Second World War and now based in the UK or the USA, such as Michelle Cliff, David Dabydeen, Caryl Phillips, and Lawrence Scott, who have addressed the commonalities between the two diasporas in their fiction and non-fiction. This essay highlights the coherence of these writers’ inclusive remembrance of black and Jewish suffering, and places their vision in the context of their attempts at self-definition, both collective and individual. [less ▲]

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