Abstract

Abstract:

Through a reading of Caryl Phillips' most recent novel, The Lost Child (2015), this article examines a paradox at the heart of Phillips' work: the tension between the ruptures and continuities brought about by the historical encounter of north and south (specifically, eighteenth-century northern Britain and the Caribbean). The novel focuses on the lot of the lost children who were born in the wake of such a fateful meeting and whose narratives are often missing from the literary and historical records even as their ghostly traces haunt today's British society and indeed the British literary canon. Yet, as this essay demonstrates, the family disruptions and sense of loss, a legacy of slavery that mars the lives of the characters, are compensated at the fictional level by a form of literary parenthood. The novel relies on a fruitful intertextual conversation with other novels that, like The Lost Child, invest in the narrative reclamation of absent stories, the unvoiced accounts of orphans and lost, stolen, or denied children of the Empire. These texts include Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847) as well as Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and some of Phillips' earlier works, notably Cambridge (1991).

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Additional Information

ISSN
1920-1222
Print ISSN
0004-1327
Pages
pp. 229-247
Launched on MUSE
2017-09-06
Open Access
No
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