Skip to main content

Nobody’s Nation

Reading Derek Walcott

Nobody’s Nation offers an illuminating look at the St. Lucian, Nobel-Prize-winning writer, Derek Walcott, and grounds his work firmly in the context of West Indian history. Paul Breslin argues that Walcott’s poems and plays are bound up with an effort to re-imagine West Indian society since its emergence from colonial rule, its ill-fated attempt at political unity, and its subsequent dispersal into tiny nation-states.

According to Breslin, Walcott’s work is centrally concerned with the West Indies’ imputed absence from history and lack of cohesive national identity or cultural tradition. Walcott sees this lack not as impoverishment but as an open space for creation. In his poems and plays, West Indian history becomes a realm of necessity, something to be confronted, contested, and remade through literature. What is most vexed and inspired in Walcott’s work can be traced to this quixotic struggle.
Linking extensive archival research and new interviews with Walcott himself to detailed critical readings of major works, Nobody’s Nation will take its place as the definitive study of the poet.

340 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2001

History: American History, British and Irish History

Literature and Literary Criticism: American and Canadian Literature, British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. Biographical Sketch
2. "Fishing the Twilight for Alternate Voices": The Early Poems and Henri Christophe
3. The Young Playwright in Jamaica
4. Adam’s Amnesia: The Uses of Memory and Forgetting
5. Dead Ends and Green Beginnings: Dream on Monkey Mountain
6. Another Life: West Indian Experience and the Problems of Narration
7. "Pulling in the Seine / of the Dark Sea": "The Schooner Flight"
8. Derek Sans Terre: The Poetry of the 1980s
9. Epic Amnesia: Healing and Memory in Omeros
10. Post-Homeric Derek: The Bounty and Tiepolo’s Hound
Epilogue: Toward a Just Evaluation of Walcott

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press