Alison Donnell


Many critics have pointed to Jamaica Kincaid as one of the most innovative and interesting of contemporary Caribbean writers, and there have been several articles engaging with her fiction through contemporary literary theory. Such approaches have tended to focus on the convergence of feminist and psycho-analytic theories which are centrally concerned, as Kincaid's writing appears to be, with the mother-daughter relationship.1 In this paper, I wish to shift the critical axis away from the application of theory to Kincaid's writing, in order to explore the way in which her writing itself could be seen as an alternative theory, a 'literary' theory which questions the assumptions within orthodox modes of interpretation, including feminist and psychoanalytic models. In other words, my interest lies with the ways in which post-colonial literature might help us to understand the limitations of certain theories, rather than with the ways in which theory can help us to understand post-colonial literature.



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