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Between the black Atlantic and Europe: Emerging paradigms in contemporary black British writing.

Reive, Samantha Elizabeth (2015) Between the black Atlantic and Europe: Emerging paradigms in contemporary black British writing. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

My thesis explores the emerging concerns of contemporary black British writing. I index the move towards a non-normative black British aesthetic through my reading of the twenty-first century novels of Diana Evans, Bernardine Evaristo, Caryl Phillips and Zadie Smith. I hypothesise that the works interrogated in the thesis offer a break from the generational model of black British writing, and in so doing shift the trajectories of black British writing away from the triangulated model of Paul Gilroy’s ‘black Atlantic’. I argue that the novels posit a non-normative black British aesthetic which draws upon multidirectional cultural trajectories. Locating this non-normative aesthetic in relation to iterations of Englishness allow my readings of the novels to uncover a newly emergent writing of black British selfhood which engages with transcultural and non-diasporic modes of cosmopolitan belonging. I identify a positioning of Europe as an alternative dwelling place which allows for new trajectories of travel for the black British subject. Subsequently, this thesis interrogates the implications for collective cultural histories, narrative and memory in which critical theories of cosmopolitanism and multidirectional memory intervene. I hypothesise a transformative energy within contemporary black British fiction as it moves on from the language of identity, crosses the boundaries of nationhood and memory, and offers a new vocabulary for the articulation of cultural belonging and ‘Englishness’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.678069
Depositing User: Dr Samantha Reive
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2016 15:56
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 13:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11684

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