Reputation of [her] pen: Retrieving the black female body from the margins of the page and the stage

Edwin, Marl'ene. 2023. Reputation of [her] pen: Retrieving the black female body from the margins of the page and the stage. In: Rachel Carroll and Fiona Tolan, eds. The Routledge Companion to Literature and Feminism. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 183-200. ISBN 9780367410261 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Imoinda: Or She Who will Lose Her Name (2008) is a re-writing of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko (1688) by an African Caribbean woman, Joan Anim-Addo. Anim-Addo's text is distinctive because it was written as a Libretto. Of this choice, Anim-Addo says “I had to write an opera [...] because the capacity shown by the African-heritage people to survive in the new world has to be a story celebrated in song, dance, music" (2003: 81). This chapter examines the challenges/questions that emerge around authorship and how a black woman can traverse these challenges. Anim-Addo's appropriation of opera as a means of restaging Caribbean history underscores the problematic that such an "extravagant of art-forms” (Cowgill 2010: 4) entails. The first part explores Anim-Addo's use of chorality within the libretto. Part two defines the notion of double archive and seeks to illustrate the way in which Anim-Addo has used the “reputation of [her] pen” to reconfigure a position which until recently has been firmly located and constructed through the lens of Restoration literature. In parts three and four this chapter explores the textual relationships that were formed and developed within this twenty-first century neo-slavery libretto that relies on a reclaiming of historical memory, myth, and fiction.

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Book Section

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English and Comparative Literature > Centre for Caribbean Studies
English and Comparative Literature


1 December 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

09 Feb 2024 16:20

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12 Feb 2024 10:04


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