The book examines rum in anglophone Atlantic literature between 1945 and 1973, the period of decolonization, and explains the adaptation of these images for the era of globalization. Rum’s alcoholic nature links it to stereotypes (e.g., piracy, demon rum, Caribbean tourism) that have constrained serious analysis in the field of colonial commodities. Insights from anthropology, history, and commodity theory yield new understandings of rum’s role in containing the paradox of a postcolonial world still riddled with the legacies of colonialism. The association of rum with slavery causes slippage between its specific role in economic exploitation and moral attitudes about the consequences of drinking. These attitudes mask history that enables continued sexual, environmental, and political exploitation of Caribbean people and spaces. Gendered and racialized drinking taboos transfer blame to individuals and cultures rather than international structures, as seen in examinations of works by V. S. Naipaul, Hunter S. Thompson, Jean Rhys, and Sylvia Townsend Warner. More broadly, these stereotypes and taboos threaten understanding West Indian nationalism in works by Earl Lovelace, George Lamming, and Sylvia Wynter. The conclusion articulates the popular force of rum’s image by addressing the relationship between a meme from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films and rhetoric during the 2016 election year.
This chapter establishes the book's key claim that Scottish colonial literature in the seventeenth century is poised between narratives of possession and dispossession. It introduces the term colonial utopian literature to frame the intricate relationship between colonialism and utopianism in the seventeenth century. The chapter uses the instances of book burnings in Edinburgh and London in 1700 that revolved around Scotland's colonial venture in Darien as a starting point for the discussion to make a case for the centrality of literary texts in the history of Scottish colonialism. In addition, it introduces the historical context of seventeenth-century Scottish colonialism, especially in relation to the emergent British Empire, inner-British power dynamics, and other European imperial projects. On a theoretical level, the chapter enters debates about Scotland's position in colonial and postcolonial studies through its focus on pre-1707 Atlantic literature. It also makes a fresh argument about Atlantic writing contributing to the transformation of utopian literature from a fictional towards a reformist genre.
This chapter focuses on Scottish Atlantic literature from the 1660s to the early 1690s. It explores how colonial utopian writing broadened in the mid-seventeenth century to include drama, life writing, legal sources, and abolitionist texts, including not only literature directly linked to Atlantic expansion but also texts usually associated with domestic Scottish literature, such as Thomas Sydserf's Tarugo's Wiles: Or, the Coffee-House (1668) or Archibald Pitcairne's The Assembly; Or, Scotch Reformation (1691). Engaging with recent works on Scotland's role in Atlantic slavery and the Black Atlantic, the chapter seeks to broaden understandings of how Scottish literature and culture participated in the development of the Black Atlantic and Eurocentric thought. The chapter further looks at legal and governmental sources relating to New Jersey and the Middle Colonies from the 1680s onwards, at abolitionist writings, and texts that pertain to the Six Nations and indigenous populations of the Americas. All of these bring out the paradoxes of possession versus dispossession and of freedom versus enslavement in Scottish colonial literature. They illustrate how aesthetic devices of utopianism work towards spatializing the colonial sphere and trying to stabilize boundaries between colonizing and colonized subjects.
Scottish Colonial Literature is a comprehensive study of Scottish colonial writing before 1707. It brings together previously dispersed sources to argue for a tradition of Scottish colonial literature before the Union of Parliaments. It introduces the term colonial utopian literature to frame the intricate relationship between colonialism and utopianism in the seventeenth century. Offering case studies relating to colonial undertakings at Nova Scotia (1620s), East New Jersey (1680s) and at the Isthmus of Panama, then known as Darien (1690s), Scottish Colonial Literature explores how literature and culture shaped Scotland's colonial ventures in the seventeenth century. In addition, it considers works written in the larger context of the Scottish Atlantic so as to illuminate how the Atlantic shaped seventeenth-century Scottish literature and vice versa. One key question running through the book is the relationship between art and ideology. Textual narratives were powerful instruments of empire-building throughout the early modern period. This book focuses on utopianism as a framework that authors used to claim power over the Atlantic. In the Scottish context, the intersections between utopianism and colonialism shed light on the ambiguous narratives of possession and dispossession as well as internal and external colonialism in Scottish colonial writing of the seventeenth century. Scottish Colonial Literature enters debates about Scotland's position in colonial and postcolonial studies through its focus on pre-1707 Atlantic literature.
Review(s) of: Shapeshifters in Medieval North Atlantic literature, by Barreiro, Santiago and Cordo Russo, Luciana (eds), The Early Medieval North Atlantic series, (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018) hardcover; 187 pages, RRP euro85; ISBN 9789462984479.
Representations of shapeshifters are prominent in medieval culture and they are particularly abundant in the vernacular literatures of the societies around the North Sea. Some of the figures in these stories remain well known in later folklore and often even in modern media, such as werewolves, dragons, berserkir and bird-maidens. Incorporating studies about Old English, Norse, Latin, Irish, and Welsh literature, this collection of essays marks an important new contribution to the study of medieval shapeshifters. Each essay highlights how shapeshifting cannot be studied in isolation, but intersects with many other topics, such as the supernatural, monstrosity, animality, gender and identity. Contributors to Shapeshifters in Medieval North Atlantic Literature come from different intellectual traditions, embracing a multidisciplinary approach combining influences from literary criticism, history, philology, and anthropology.