Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Literature and cultural pluralism : East Indians in the Caribbean

By Robert Jeremy Poynting


This study explores the position, of imaginative literature\ud in the ethnically plural societies of Trinidad and Guyana in\ud the Caribbean. It examines the extent to which the production of imaginative literature has been marked by the same ethnic divisions which have bedevilled the political, social and cultural life of these societies. For reasons explained in Chapter One, the study focuses mainly on the literature by writers from and about the Indian section of the population.\ud \ud However, the study is concerned not only with the way that\ud the context of ethnic and cultural fragmentation has affected a good deal of the writing produced in these societies, but also with the smaller number of works, mainly of fiction, which contribute to a much-needed understanding of these societies by bringing the lives of both major groups into a common focus. I argue that it is not enough to describe the differences between the two types of writing merely in terms of the presence or absence of ethnocentric biases, and discuss both the conceptual frameworks within which works of fiction may be felt to give'truthfullknowledge and the conventions of representation which most effectively communicate that knowledge to the reader.\ud \ud The thesis is divided into four sections. The first develops\ud the argument that in much of the fiction examined there\ud has been a connexion between ethnocentric biases, an empiricist epistemology and conventions of representation which are defined later as naturalistic. Parts Two and Three present a detailed examination of this proposition by analysing the works of Indian and non-Indian authors. The fourth part discusses those novels which go beyond the presentation of ethnically fragmented images by constructing fictive worlds which attempt to encompass the social whole. Such novels are shown to have a self-awareness of their epistemological and cultural assumptions,\ud and in some cases an awareness that the real but hidden\ud structures of society may only be incompletely or falsely\ud experienced by the novel's characters. I show that such concerns with attempting to portray the real social whole, frequently intersect with an intense involvement, on the part of the author, with the aesthetic structuring and verbal texture of the novel

Publisher: School of English (Leeds)
Year: 1985
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. A Conversation With Forbes Burnham', The Black Scholar,
  2. (1970). A Destiny To Mould,
  3. (1973). A Note on Ralph de;
  4. A Plea For The Encouragement of Lesser Industries',
  5. (1981). A Thumbnail Autobiography', The New Voices vQl 9,
  6. (1977). Aesthetics and Politics: Debates Between Bloch Lukacs,
  7. (1981). Aesthetics and The Sociology of Art, doi
  8. Africa in the, Literature of-the--'West Indies!, doi
  9. (1888). Among The Hindus and Creoles of British Guiana,
  10. (1886). Ancestry, Or Origin of Our. East Indian Immi ants -Bein, An Ethnological and Philosophical Paper,
  11. (1975). and Tobago Literature On 'Air, .'"
  12. (1927). Aspects of the Novel ,.
  13. (1948). Bengali Literature, London, doi
  14. (1981). Black Awakening in the Arrivarits of Ed Kamua Brathwaite,
  15. (1939). Camejo, Acton, 'Racial Discrimination"in-Employment in the'Private' 'Sector in Trinidad and Tobago',
  16. (1968). Caribbean Writers : Critical Essays,
  17. (1967). Civil Liberties Action Union, Rape'of Democracy in Guyana, ' Georgetown, 19.72" Clarke, Colin, 'Caste Among Hindus in'a Town in Trinidad: San Fernando',
  18. (1977). Criticism and Ideology, doi
  19. (1971). Criticism: A Critique, '
  20. (1977). Cultural Policy in-Guyana,
  21. (1969). Dialect in West Indian Literature'",
  22. (1969). Discovering Literature in Trinidad: The Nineteen Thirties', doi
  23. (1975). Dynamics of A Creole System, London, doi
  24. (1964). Early-Labour Organisation in Trinidad'and the Colonial Context of the Butler Riots, Trinidad, St. Augustine, we V"1" YVý/ V" Vi wV V1 ViV6ý ,, 1ý (V" Chase, Ashton, A History of Trade Unionism
  25. (1975). East 'In ian To Indo-Trinidadian' , Paper presented to-East Indians In'the Caribbean: A Symposium,
  26. (1963). EastI Indian Agricultural-Settlements-in Trinidads' A Study in-Cultural Geography, Unpublished Ph.
  27. Edgar Mittelholzer: Moralist. or Pornographer',
  28. (1970). Fable and Myth in the Caribbean and the Guianas, -Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial Lecture, Third Series, Georgetown, National History and Arts Council',
  29. (1974). Fact in Fiction,
  30. (1969). Growing Up Writing',
  31. (1979). Harris's Attitude to the East Indian Community as Transformed by the West Indian, Experience in The Far Journey of Oudin ', Paper presented. to East Indians in The Caribbean: A Symposium, :
  32. (1978). Hermeneutics and Social Science, doi
  33. (1972). Homecoming, doi
  34. (1977). Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow: His. Main Tasks and Achievements,
  35. (1980). Human Rights Group, Something To Remember :
  36. (1974). Identity and Individual Consciousness in The Caribbean Novel, Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial. Lecture, Fifth Series, Georgetown, National History-and Arts Council,
  37. (1929). Im ressions'of British Guiana ,' unpublished. typescript,
  38. (1978). Immigration As Carried Out in British Guiana,
  39. In Search of Innocence: An Introduction to. Ian'McDonald's The Hummingbird Tree ', Tapia ,
  40. (1979). Indian Literature, doi
  41. (1965). Indian Writing in English, -London,,
  42. Indians Have' Given to West Indian
  43. (1979). Indians in the Novels of Edgar Mittelholzer', paper presented to East Indians in the Caribbean, 'A Symposium,,
  44. (1980). Inquiring Man: The Psychology of Personal Constructs, doi
  45. Interview With Sam Selvon, ' World Literature Written In English,. doi
  46. (1976). Introduction to the Study of West. Indian Literature,
  47. (1981). Janet, The Social Production of Art,
  48. Kali Mal
  49. (1976). Lamming: The Historical Literary Half-Yearly,
  50. (1979). Literature- Against I'tself, ' Chicago,.
  51. (1970). lo 2. q OTHER SECONDARY
  52. (1966). Man's Changing Mask, doi
  53. (1967). Mittelholzer: The Man and'His'Work, Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial Lecture, First Series, Georgetown., Ministry of'Education, and Culture,
  54. (1979). Na'ipaul's Ambivalent Vision of' the Indian Experience'', paper. presented to East Indians in the Caribbean: A- Symposium ',
  55. (1965). Nai aul:
  56. (1975). Naiitaul :A Critical Introduction,
  57. (1972). Naipaul : An. Introduction to His Work, doi
  58. Notes-on Emigration from -India -to
  59. Observations of the Mussülma: ns of'India, '
  60. (1849). Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question, ' Fraser's Magazine,
  61. (1975). Occupational Mobility and Career Aspirations Among Secondary School Teachers*-in Trinidad and Tobago', Paper. " presented to-East Indians-ih.
  62. (1970). Of Contemporary Realism, London,. Merlin Press, 19 3" Writer and Critic and Other Essays, London ,
  63. of Spain, 1976-West India Committee, Catalogue'of the Library 'of the West India Committee,
  64. (1981). Omowale, About Our Own Business,
  65. Out of Darkness: Conrad and Other Third World Writers',
  66. (1972). Persistent Poverty, London, ' doi
  67. (1977). Philosophical Foundations of the Three, Sociolokies, London, Routledge, Kegan and Paul,
  68. (1980). Pictures of Realit : Aesthetics Politics and"Pleasure,
  69. (1969). pp"32-" " Doyle-Marshall, William, Cultural Cr_is. is-:. A Look. At. Cultural Impacts in Canada, the Caribbean 'and England ,
  70. (1971). Problems of The Indian Creative' Writer in English, doi
  71. (1969). Reflections on West Indian Writing and Criticism',
  72. (1980). Resistance and Caribbean Literature, Chlicago, doi
  73. (1974). Savacou Publicatio'ns,
  74. (1972). Self-Discovery Through Literature, Trinidad,
  75. (1977). Selvon and the West Indian. Literary Renaissance',
  76. Should Indians Return To India',,
  77. (1982). Social Anal sis: A Marxist - Criti ue 'and Alternative, Shipley, 'The Moor Press,.
  78. (1977). Social Learning Theory, doi
  79. (1973). Speaking To Each Other, London,. Penguin, two vols,
  80. (1978). Story and Discourser Narrative Structure in Fi: ction"and Film,
  81. (1981). Style in Fiction: "A 'inguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose, doi
  82. (1972). Sugar Without Slaves., doi
  83. (1973). T heoryý of Literature,.
  84. (1977). The Alfred " Mendes Story', Tapia, vol 7-no 22,
  85. (1969). The Chosen Tongue,
  86. The Colony of British Guiana and Its Labouring Population: Containing A Short Account of the Colon_y_, and brief descriptions of the Black Creole, Portuguese, East Indian and Chinese Coolies,
  87. (1968). The Concept of Indian Literature,
  88. (1971). The Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial Lectures, Fourth Series,
  89. (1974). The Experience of Indentureship', in'Cälcutta To Caroni,
  90. (1970). The February Revolution', Tapia ,
  91. (1962). The Goldon Notebook,
  92. (1984). The Histor of the West Indian Isainds of Trinidad and
  93. (1962). The Historical Novel,
  94. The Indian in The Black Power Movement'",
  95. (1968). The Ironic Approach: The Novels, of
  96. (1968). The Islands,
  97. (1967). The Language of Fiction, London', Routledge Kegan
  98. (1977). The Love Axe/L: Developing A Caribbean Aesthetic',
  99. (1978). The Making of Guyanese Literature,
  100. (1962). The Murders of Boysie Singh,.
  101. (1974). The Muse Of History', doi
  102. (1971). The Myth of'Eldorado'in the Caribbean., Novel', doi
  103. (1976). The Naked Design, Denmark, Dangeroo Press,
  104. (1970). The Novels, of Ralph de Boissiere',
  105. (1968). The Poet As Novelist: The. N ovels of George Lamming', The Islands In
  106. The Political Unconscious: Narrative-As A Socially S bolic Act, doi
  107. (1961). The Rhetoric of Fiction , doi
  108. The Two Novels of Harold Laddo', World Literature Written in English, doi
  109. (1983). The Unassailable Man',.
  110. (1970). The West Indian Novel and Its Background, London, Faber and Faber, doi
  111. The, Mimic Men As A Study " of Corruption'-, in Literature and S ocie"ty in'
  112. (1960). The, Pleasures of Exile, doi
  113. (1971). The; Development Of Creole Society in Jamaica 1770-18'20,
  114. (1971). The'New Slavery: An Account of Indian and Chinese Immigrants in British Guiana,
  115. (1981). Theory and-Dialectical Change in'Guyanese Race and Class Relations, ' doi
  116. (1975). Towards A Sociology of The Novel, doi
  117. (1968). Trinidad Electoral Politics,, London, Institute of Race' Relations, doi
  118. (1914). Trinidad: A Jewel of the West or One Hundred Years of British Rule,
  119. (1911). Trinidads The Canadian Presbiterian Mission To East Indian,
  120. (1979). Victims' of the Colonial 'Experience in' the 'New World'., paper presented to East Indians in the Caribbean :A Symposium,
  121. (1970). West Indian Epic'., Caribbean Auar. terly,
  122. (1975). Wilson Harris and The Caribbean Novel.,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.