Michael Dash


Master Prospère and slave Caliban, Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday, King Christophe and Fool Hugonin, the disincarnate ego and the incarnate other - the confrontation between the castaway subject and the cast-out other in the Caribbean makes these universal images of the divided self, the dissociated sensibility, more acute and pervasive. The Caribbean writer is haunted by the darker implications of these polarities. His imagination is constantly drawn to these contrastive mental spaces which symbolically reflect the relationship between power and the promise of its subversion, between spiritual pretence and its demonic underside, between the self-certain subject and the liberating thrust of Otherness. The individual artist's unsettling focus on these precarious dichotomies ultimately constitutes a tradition built around redefining the subject, reacting against cultural and psychological estrangement and, in its most visionary manifestation, creating a poetics of a fissured, constantly changing space.



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