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The Globalised Garden: Jamaica Kincaid's Postcolonial Gothic

Byrne, EA (2018) The Globalised Garden: Jamaica Kincaid's Postcolonial Gothic. Wagadu : a Journal of Transnational Women's & Gender Studies, 19. pp. 77-90. ISSN 2150-2226

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Abstract

This paper explores a tension between the pleasures of gardening and the colonial legacy of botany as Jamaica Kincaid demonstrates it in My Garden (Book). It asks if reading Kincaid’s text in conjunction with ecocritical discourses emerging in the Caribbean and elsewhere might illuminate Kincaid’s own project as it relates to an ‘uncanny worlding’ that Kincaid performs in her plant writing. Through a discussion of the emerging field of tropical gothic and ecogothic this paper argues for an attention to the ways in which histories of violent contact, appropriation and resource extraction associated with plantation economies are gestured to in Kincaid’s writing with uncanny and gothic effects. The paper considers the ways in which both Kincaid’s garden in Vermont, and the Botanical Gardens in Antigua offer places for forms of ‘plant thinking’ that haunt the present and speak of wilfully forgotten violences and that demonstrate a common ground between vegetal, animal and human lives in the face of the Anthropocene.

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