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The Writer in Transition

Roger Mais and the Decolonizing of Caribbean Culture


Evelyn J. Hawthorne

Roger Mais, a writer at the forefront of the emerging nationalist movement of the 1930s, is considered by many the father of modern Caribbean writing. Seeing the clear need for national self-definition, he created a body of writing which, rejecting the European hegemonic literary tradition, was guided by his commitment to discovering his own people and culture, and a voice and language that would be authentic. Even so, Mais's works are misrepresented as demonstrating a monolithic, uncomplicated nationalism. Carefully examined, they reveal tensions between the writer and his role in culture. Mais's works give insight into the process as a society moves from a colonial to a national identity.
Contents: This is a seminal study of the writer Roger Mais, focused upon the relationship of his work to culture and politics.