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Jamaica Kincaid
Writing Memory, Writing Back to the Mother
Jamaica Kincaid
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J. Brooks Bouson - Author
Price: $65.00 
Hardcover - 252 pages
Release Date: July 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6523-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6523-3

Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 252 pages
Release Date: June 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6524-1
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6524-0

Price: $31.95 
Electronic - 252 pages
Release Date: February 2012
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-8292-6

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Offers a new perspective on the psychological and affective dynamics of Jamaica Kincaid’s fiction and nonfiction.

“I’ve never written about anyone except myself and my mother. I’m just one of those pathetic people for whom writing is therapy.” — Jamaica Kincaid

Haunted by the memories of her powerfully destructive mother, Jamaica Kincaid is a writer out of necessity. Born Elaine Potter Richardson, Kincaid grew up in the West Indies in the shadow of her deeply contemptuous and abusive mother, Annie Drew. Drawing heavily on Kincaid’s many remarks on the autobiographical sources of her writings, J. Brooks Bouson investigates the ongoing construction of Kincaid’s autobiographical and political identities. She focuses attention on what many critics find so enigmatic and what lies at the heart of Kincaid’s fiction and nonfiction work: the “mother mystery.” Bouson demonstrates, through careful readings, how Kincaid uses her writing to transform her feelings of shame into pride as she wins the praise of an admiring critical establishment and an ever-growing reading public.

“…the most exhaustive exploration of the importance of the figure of the mother in Kincaid’s work to date.” — New West Indian Guide

“Bouson offers a highly intelligent and detailed reading of Kincaid’s work from the perspective of shame and trauma theory. She shows the intersection of the personal and the social in the work, with a central emphasis on the troubled mother-daughter relations. This is a major contribution to the field.” — Joseph Adamson, coeditor of Scenes of Shame:Psychoanalysis, Shame, and Writing

J. Brooks Bouson is Professor of English at Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of Quiet As It’s Kept: Shame, Trauma, and Race in the Novels of Toni Morrison, also published by SUNY Press; Brutal Choreographies: Oppositional Strategies and Narrative Design in the Novels of Margaret Atwood; and The Empathic Reader: A Study of the Narcissistic Character and the Drama of the Self

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Table of Contents



1. "When You Think of Me, Think of My Life"

Part I. In the Shadow of the Mother

2. "I Had Embarked on Something Called Self-Invention" Artistic Beginnings in "Antigua Crossings" and At the Bottom of the River

3. "The Way I Became a Writer Was That My Mother Wrote My Life for Me and Told It to Me": Living in the Shadow of the Mother in Annie John

4. "As I Looked at This Sentence a Great Wave of Shame Came over Me and I Wept and Wept": The Art of Memory, Anger, and Despair in Lucy

Part II. A Very Personal Politics

5. "Imagine the Bitterness and the Shame in Me as I Tell You This": The Political Is Personal in A Small Place and "On Seeing England for the First Time"

Part III. Family Portraits

6."I Would Bear Children, but I Would Never Be a Mother to Them": Writing Back to the Contemptuous Mother in The Autobiography of My Mother

7. "I Shall Never Forget Him Because His Life Is the One I Did Not Have": Remembering Her Brother's Failed Life in My Brother

8. "Like Him and His Own Father before Him, I Have a Line Drawn through Me": Imagining the Life of the Absent Father in Mr. Potter

9. Conclusion. "I Am Writing for Solace": Seeking Solace in Writing, Gardening, and Domestic Life


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