Island Paradise: The Myth
A colonial discourse has perpetuated the literary notion of islands as paradisal. This study explores how the notions of island paradise have been represented in European literature, the oral and literary indigenous traditions of the Caribbean and Sri Lanka, a colonial literary influence in these islands, and the literary experience after independence in these nations. Persistent themes of colonial narratives foreground the aesthetic and ignore the workforce in a representation of island space as idealized, insular, and vulnerable to conquest; an ideal space for management and control. English landscape has been replicated in islands through literature and in reality – the ‘Great House’ being an ideological symbol of power.
Island Paradise: The Myth investigates how these entrenched notions of paradise, which islands have traditionally represented metonymically, are contested in the works of four postcolonial authors: Jamaica Kincaid, Lawrence Scott, Romesh Gunesekera, and Jean Arasanayagam, from the island nations of the Caribbean and Sri Lanka. It analyzes texts which focus on gardens, island space, and houses to examine how these motifs are used to re-vision colonial/contested sites. This book examines the relationship between landscape and identity and, with reference to Homi K. Bhabha, considers how these writers offer an alternative space for negotiating the ambivalence of hybridity.