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Title: Printing the West Indies : literary magazines and the Anglophone Caribbean 1920s-1950s
Authors: Irving, Claire
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis uncovers a body of literary magazines previously seen as peripheral to Caribbean literature. Drawing on extensive archival research, it argues for the need to open up the critical consensus around a small selection of magazines (Trinidad, The Beacon, Bim and Kyk-over-al), to consider a much broader and more varied landscape of periodicals. Covering twenty-eight magazines, the thesis is the first sustained account of a periodical culture published between the 1920s and 1950s. The project identifies a broad-based movement towards magazines by West Indians, informed and shaped by a shared aspiration for a West Indian literary tradition. It identifies the magazines as a key forum through which the West Indian middle classes contributed to and negotiated the process of cultural decolonisation which paralleled the political movement to independence in the 1960s. Chapter One explores the broad ways in which the magazines envisioned a West Indian literary tradition, before focusing on the tensions between the oral folk tradition and emerging print culture. Chapter Two moves to a closer focus on the middle-class West Indians publishing the magazines and the Literary and Debating Society movement. It argues that through their magazines these clubs sought to intervene in the public sphere. Chapter Three considers the marginalised publications of three key women editors, Esther Chapman, Una Marson and Aimee Webster and identifies how the magazine form enabled these editors to pursue wider political agendas linked to their cultural aims. Chapter Four returns to a broader focus on the magazines’ paratextual elements including advertisements and commercial competitions, to explore the business of magazine publication and the ways in which this shaped their contents and compilation. Overall, the cultural and material history of the magazines mapped by this thesis sheds new light on what remains an under-explored but critical period of Caribbean literary history, on the cusp of cultural decolonisation and formal independence.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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