Reference : Caryl Phillips's Crossing the River and the Chorus of Archival Memory
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Arts & humanities : Literature
Caryl Phillips's Crossing the River and the Chorus of Archival Memory
Ledent, Bénédicte mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de langues et littératures modernes > Langue et linguistique anglaises modernes >]
Inhabiting the Voids of History: A Conference on Caryl Phillips
23 et 24 mai 2017
Université de Caen Normandie - Françoise Kral
[en] Crossing the River ; Caryl Phillips ; archives
[en] 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I would like to do in this paper is retrieve these lost voices by looking at Phillips’s archives, notably at an early unpublished radio play entitled “Crossing the River” and at the early drafts of the third section of the eponymous novel, and see how these documents relate to the novel’s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.
Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Etudes Postcoloniales - CEREP
Researchers ; Students

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