Orality in the Body of the Archive: Memorialising Representations of Creole Language and Culture in the Technologised Word

Marl'ene Edwin
This thesis begins with a re-reading of selected texts by Caribbean writers, specifically, Joan Anim-Addo, Olive Senior and Merle Collins and in so doing argues that literary fiction can and does function as a 'creolised archive'. I argue that a historic marginalisation, which has barred Caribbean scholars from entering 'formal' archival spaces, has created an alternative discourse. Consequently, Caribbean writers have chosen the imagined landscapes of literature, a new archival space for the
more » ... val space for the Caribbean, within which to document and preserve Caribbean cultural traditions. If as I suggest, fiction allows for the safeguarding of traditions, how then should we read Caribbean literature? The combination of a physical and a virtual archive questions the literary and linguistic interface that such a mingling entails in a preservation of Caribbean culture. I argue for an appreciation of orality as performance, primary and technologised, as well as the reading of texts as 'creolised archive'. Drawing on interlinked theoretical works including that of Kamau Brathwaite, Édouard Glissant and Antoinette Burton, I attempt to establish the performativity of the 'creolised archive' in twentieth and twenty-first century Caribbean literature, defined as oral in this research. I suggest that the 'creolised archive' has a plurality of sources/resources enabling the preservation of aspects of Creole culture. I begin by exploring the literary representation and imagining of black female subjectivity to highlight a reading of the black female body as archive. The selected short stories provide a starting point from which the history and construction of the Creole voice is explored to determine the representation and preservation of Caribbean Creoles archived within the literary text. In considering the World Wide Web as archive, I examine how the World Wide Web might most effectively serve as an interactive archive for Caribbean oral literature. Additionally, I interrogate how the Web might be seen and experienced as a literary inte [...]
doi:10.25602/gold.00018737 fatcat:fskjryjlj5g4pctvhj475cg7lu