Catalogue


Jamaica Kincaid : writing memory, writing back to the mother /
J. Brooks Bouson.
imprint
Albany : State University of New York Press, c2005.
description
ix, 242 p.
ISBN
0791465233 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Albany : State University of New York Press, c2005.
isbn
0791465233 (alk. paper)
contents note
When you think of me, think of my life -- I had embarked on something called self-invention : artistic beginnings in "Antigua crossings" and At the bottom of the river -- The way I became a writer was that my mother wrote my life for me and told it to me : living in the shadow of the mother in Annie John -- As I looked at this sentence a great wave of shame came over me and I wept and wept : the art of memory, anger, and despair in Lucy -- Imagine the bitterness and the shame in me as I tell you this : the political is personal in A small place and "On seeing England for the first time" -- I would bear children but I would never be a mother to them : writing back to the contemptuous mother in The autobiography of my mother -- I shall never forget him because his life is the one I did not have : remembering her brother's failed life in My brother -- Like him and his own father before him, I have a line drawn through me : imagining the life of the absent father in Mr. Potter.
catalogue key
5617219
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-02-01:
From the time she entered the literary scene in the early 1980s, Kincaid and her short stories, novels, and nonfiction have been a favorite subject of academic discussion and debate. In this compelling three-part study, Bouson (Loyola Univ., Chicago) bucks critical trends in Kincaid scholarship that focus on allegorizing and politicizing the familial, and especially mother-daughter, relationships so central to the Antiguan writer's narratives. Bouson's approach is instead psycho-biographical; storytelling becomes a subtle form of autobiography, especially in the hands of as conflicted an artist of the personal and domestic as Kincaid. Using theories of trauma articulated by Judith Lewis Herman, Elizabeth Waites, et al., Bouson illuminates the psychological elements in Kincaid's evolving literary corpus--in particular, the ways her characters reveal her own ongoing struggle to come to terms with the intense shame laid on her by the powerful mother she both loves and hates. Even at her most apparently political and generalized, Kincaid is quietly at work transforming memories of personal humiliation into a personally liberating "writing back" to the maternal figure that "wrote my life for me and told it to me." ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. Adjarian University of Arizona
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Bouson offers a highly intelligent and detailed reading of Kincaid's work from the perspective of shame and trauma theory. She shows the intersection of the personal and the social in the work, with a central emphasis on the troubled mother-daughter relations. This is a major contribution to the field."
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2006
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Summaries
Long Description
Haunted by the memories of her powerfully destructive mother, Jamaica Kincaid is a writer out of necessity. Born Elaine Potter Richardson, Kincaid grew up in the West Indies in the shadow of her deeply contemptuous and abusive mother, Annie Drew. Drawing heavily on Kincaid's many remarks on the autobiographical sources of her writings, J. Brooks Bouson investigates the ongoing construction of Kincaid's autobiographical and political identities. She focuses attention on what many critics find so enigmatic and what lies at the heart of Kincaid's fiction and nonfiction work: the "mother mystery." Bouson demonstrates, through careful readings, how Kincaid uses her writing to transform her feelings of shame into pride as she wins the praise of an admiring critical establishment and an ever-growing reading public.
Table of Contents
Introduction : "when you think of me, think of my life"p. 1
"I had embarked on something called self-invention" : artistic beginnings in "Antigua crossings" and At the bottom of the riverp. 19
"The way I became a writer was that my mother wrote my life for me and told it to me" : living in the shadow of the mother in Annie Johnp. 37
"As I looked at this sentence a great wave of shame came over me and I wept and wept" : the art of memory, anger, and despair in Lucyp. 67
"Imagine the bitterness and the shame in me as I tell you this" : the political is personal in A small place and "On seeing England for the first time"p. 91
"I would bear children, but I would never be a mother to them" : writing back to the contemptuous mother in The autobiography of my motherp. 115
"I shall never forget him because his life is the one I did not have" : remembering her brother's failed life in My brotherp. 143
"Like him and his own father before him, I have a line drawn through me" : imagining the life of the absent father in Mr. Potterp. 165
Conclusion : "I am writing for solace" : seeking solace in writing, gardening, and domestic lifep. 181
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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