Focusing on the literary representation of performance practices in anglophone, francophone, and hispaphone Caribbean literature, Jeannine Murray-Roman shows how a shared regional aesthetic emerges from the descriptions of music, dance, and oral storytelling events. Because the historical circumstances that led to the development of performance traditions supersede the geopolitical and linguistic divisions of colonialism, the literary uses of these traditions resonate across the linguistic boundaries of the region. The author thus identifies the aesthetic that emerges from the act of writing about live arts and moving bodies as a practice that is grounded in the historically, geographically, and culturally specific features of the Caribbean itself. Working with twentieth- and twenty-first-century sources ranging from theatrical works and vels to blogs, Murray-Roman examines the ways in which writers such as Jacques Stephen Alexis, Zoe Valdes, Rosario Ferre, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Marlon James experiment with textually compensating for the loss of the corporeality of live relationship in performance traditions. Through their exploration of the interaction of literature and performance, she argues, Caribbean writers themselves offer a mode of bridging the disjunction between cultural and philosophical approaches within Caribbean studies.
Jeannine Murray-Roman is Assistant Professor of French and Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at Florida State University, USA.