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Precarious PassagesThe Diasporic Imagination in Contemporary Black Anglophone Fiction$
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Tuire Valkeakari

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062471

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062471.001.0001

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Journeys to the Heart of Empire after World War II

Journeys to the Heart of Empire after World War II

George Lamming’s, Caryl Phillips’s, and Andrea Levy’s Caribbean Migrants

(p.131) 4 Journeys to the Heart of Empire after World War II
Precarious Passages

Tuire Valkeakari

University Press of Florida

An analysis of The Emigrants, The Final Passage, and Small Island, chapter 4 brings together this book’s arguments by exploring the relationship among diasporic, imperial, and national identity formations in George Lamming’s, Caryl Phillips’s, and Andrea Levy’s novels about West Indian immigrants (who are both African Caribbean diasporans and subjects of the British empire) settling in Britain after World War II. Lamming and Phillips—members, respectively, of the first and second generations of post-Windrush writers—convey a Middle Passage sensibility more powerfully than does Levy, who, in the generational classification of post-Windrush novelists, belongs to the third generation. Like The Emigrants and Final Passage, Small Island, too, underscores the antiblack racism experienced by black Caribbean migrants to Britain. Yet exilic melancholy, though a presence, does not dominate Small Island in the way it controls Lamming’s and Phillips’s writing. In Levy’s treatment, the story of the postwar black Caribbean diaspora in Britain grows into a narrative of active diaspora-making. Finally, the chapter also examines how each of these three authors portrays the gendered aspects of the postwar Caribbean migration to Britain.

Keywords:   African Caribbean, World War II, Britain, Windrush, George Lamming, The Emigrants, Caryl Phillips, The Final Passage, Andrea Levy, Small Island

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