“Another shrug”

by Nicholas Laughlin on July 15, 2010

Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys

. . . then there is the usual problem of fragmentation . . . which raises the question of whether a group of individuals linked to the same geographical area who nevertheless write independently of each other and without each other’s work in mind really form a common tradition. Which reminds me of that famous interview with Jean Rhys after she had been rediscovered — brought back from the dead, practically — and quite literally forced into the West Indian literary canon with Wide Sargasso Sea. She was asked if she considered herself to be a West Indian writer, to which she shrugged; English? No! French? Yet another shrug. . .

— Reacting to Jeremy Taylor’s review of Conversations with Caryl Phillips in the May 2010 CRB, Montague Kobbe muses over “Literary Caribbeanness: Fact or Fiction?” in Latineos.

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