Common Places: The Poetics of African Atlantic Postromantics

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While a great deal of postcolonial criticism has examined how the processes of hybridity, mestizaje, creolization, and syncretism impact African diasporic literature, Oakley employs the heuristic of the commonplace to recast our sense of the politics of such literature. Her analysis of commonplace poetics reveals that postcolonial poetic and political moods and aspirations are far more complex than has been admitted. African Atlantic writers summon the utopian potential of Romanticism, which had been stricken by Anglo-European exclusiveness and racial entitlement, and project it as an attainable, differentially common future. Putting poets Franketienne (Haiti), Werewere Liking (Cote d'Ivoire), Derek Walcott (St Lucia), and Claudia Rankine (Jamaica) in dialogue with Romantic poets and theorists, as well as with the more recent thinkers Edouard Glissant, Walter Benjamin, and Emmanuel Levinas, Oakley shows how African Atlantic poets formally revive Romantic forms, ranging from the social utopian manifesto to the poete maudit, in their pursuit of a redemptive allegory of African Atlantic experiences. Common Places addresses issues in African and Caribbean literary studies, Romanticism, poetics, rhetorical theory, comparative literature, and translation theory, and further, models a postcolonial critique in the aesthetic-ethical and new aestheticist vein.