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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Memory, madness and whiteness in Julia Blackburn's 'The Book of Colour' and Rachel Zadok's 'Gem Squash Tokoloshe'
Author:Flockemann, MikiISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Geographic terms:Mauritius
South Africa
About persons:Julia Blackburn (1948-)ISNI
Rachel ZadokISNI
Abstract:Identifying reciprocities between thematically affiliated texts across geographic and national boundaries has become a typical feature of the transnational turn in literary studies. This is also the focus in this article which applies a 'like-but-unlike' comparative framework to Julia Blackburn's 'The Book of Colour' (1996, set largely in Mauritius) and Rachel Zadok's 'Gem Squash Tokoloshe' (2005, set in South Africa). The claim by Cathy Caruth (1996), that textualizing traumatic memory exposes not only one's own, but also an effaced other's story of trauma, prepares the way for identifying reciprocities in the dissonance between 'seeing' and 'knowing' exposed here. The article focuses on how fictionalizing memory is entangled with perceptions of madness and 'unbelonging', and is interpreted in terms of psychic pathology, as social metaphor and as discursive strategy. An iconography of memory in the South African context, where familiar binaries are both affirmed and unsettled, is read against an Indian Ocean diasporic text's attempt to 'step back into the past' in order to make sense of the present; the aim is to expose potentially unfamiliar readings which are made available through the comparative framework. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]