Sounding Out History: Caryl Phillip's Crossing the River

Françoise Kral

Publié le 3 octobre 2017 Mis à jour le 5 octobre 2017

Ouvrage publié dans la collection Intercalaires, Agrégation anglais, dir. Hélène Aji et Emily Eells, Presses Universitaires Paris Nanterre, 2017

This book explores the articulation of the aesthetics and the politics of Crossing the River beyond the focus on neo-slave narratives and sounds out the silence purposefully left by Caryl Phillips in his revisiting of slave history. Central to Phillips’s novel is an indictment of Western narrative forms – in particular the travelogue and the epistolary genre – which have played a pivotal role in the shaping of Western modernity and which Phillips experiments with as part of a project to invent a form suitable for the expression of a black transatlantic modernity in the wake of the postcolonial critique of Western historiography.

Table of Contents 

Part I: Writing ‘Into the face of History’

— Chapter I. Sketching a genealogy of parallel histories
— Chapter II. Sounding out the voids of history: the slave trade and its ‘ghost narratives’
— Chapter III. Historical amnesia and prosthetic memory
Part II: The Generic and Aesthetic Make-up of Crossing the River
— Chapter I. Literary Filiations
— Chapter II. Voicing history
Part III: Post-Genealogies
— Chapter I. Precarious homes
— Chapter II. Of grafted limbs and post-genealogies.
Conclusion. Inhabiting the Voids of History

Order at the Presses Universitaires de Paris Nanterre website.

Date de publication : 2017
174 pages
Format : 17×23 cm
ISBN : 978-2-84016-282-7  
Prix : 12€

Mis à jour le 05 octobre 2017