Queering the Black Atlantic in Caryl Phillips's Crossing the River and Jackie Kay's Trumpet

Eleanor Byrne

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Abstract :
International audience
This paper explores the ways in which two Black British writers, Kay and Phillips, have represented a queer potentiality intersecting with a certain postcolonial chronicling of the multiple experiences and complex legacies of the middle passage and its transoceanic cross-currents. Through an engagement with work by queer of color critics such as Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley and Christina Sharpe it looks at important critical reframings of Paul Gilroy' s influential and ground-breaking work The Black Atlantic in order to examine the fraught cross currents in maritime relations as they shift between spaces of memory and erasure, brutality and survival. This paper discusses the intersections of historical, conceptual and embodied experiences of a Queer Black Atlantic as depicted in Phillips's chronicling of the Atlantic slave trade and its legacies, and Kay's multi-voiced unravelling of race, gender, and sexuality in Trumpet, notably in her 'ecstatic' depiction of Jazz in the nove!. The paper demonstrates how a queer critical focus illuminates both Phillips's and Kay's writing, as it foregrounds the fraught negotiations between race, sexuality, gender identity and power as experienced in the remembering and chronicling of the Black Atlantic diaspora.
Published : 2016
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)


Eleanor Byrne, « Queering the Black Atlantic in Caryl Phillips's Crossing the River and Jackie Kay's Trumpet », Cycnos, 2016. URL : https://hal.science/hal-03148859