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Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora - Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat

Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora

Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat

Edited by Maia L. Butler, Joanna Davis-McElligatt, and Megan Feifer
Foreword by Nadège T. Clitandre
Afterword by Thadious M. Davis
Hardcover : 9781496839879, 284 pages, June 2022
Paperback : 9781496839886, 284 pages, June 2022

The first scholarly volume to treat the entire range of Edwidge Danticat's powerful works


Contributions by Cécile Accilien, Maria Rice Bellamy, Gwen Bergner, Olga Blomgren, Maia L. Butler, Isabel Caldeira, Nadège T. Clitandre, Thadious M. Davis, Joanna Davis-McElligatt, Laura Dawkins, Megan Feifer, Delphine Gras, Akia Jackson, Tammie Jenkins, Shewonda Leger, Jennifer M. Lozano, Marion Christina Rohrleitner, Thomás Rothe, Erika V. Serrato, Lucía Stecher, and Joyce White

Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat contains fifteen essays addressing how Edwidge Danticat’s writing, anthologizing, and storytelling trace, (re)construct, and develop alternate histories, narratives of nation building, and conceptions of home and belonging. The prolific Danticat is renowned for novels, collections of short fiction, nonfiction, and editorial writing. As her experimentation in form expands, so does her force as a public intellectual. Danticat’s literary representations, political commentary, and personal activism have proven vital to classroom and community work imagining radical futures. Among increasing anti-immigrant sentiment and containment and rampant ecological volatility, Danticat’s contributions to public discourse, art, and culture deserve sustained critical attention. These essays offer essential perspectives to scholars, public intellectuals, and students interested in African diasporic, Haitian, Caribbean, and transnational American literary studies. This collection frames Danticat’s work as an indictment of statelessness, racialized and gendered state violence, and the persistence of political and economic margins.

The first section of this volume, “The Other Side of the Water,” engages with Danticat’s construction and negotiation of nation, both in Haiti and the United States; the broader dyaspora; and her own, her family’s, and her fictional characters’ places within them. The second section, “Welcoming Ghosts,” delves into the ever-present specter of history and memory, prominent themes found throughout Danticat’s work. From origin stories to broader Haitian histories, this section addresses the underlying traumas involved when remembering the past and its relationship to the present. The third section, “I Speak Out,” explores the imperative to speak, paying particular attention to the narrative form with which such telling occurs. The fourth and final section, “Create Dangerously,” contends with Haitians’ activism, community building, and the political and ecological climate of Haiti and its dyaspora.


"Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora is an in-depth interdisciplinary collection of essays that engages the corpus of Edwidge Danticat in all its dimensions: novelist, short fiction writer, memoirist, essayist, activist, and public intellectual. The book also brings these different aspects of her work together by bringing to light the alternate histories and historiographies this extraordinary storyteller maps out in her work. "

- Carine M. Mardorossian, author of Reclaiming Difference: Caribbean Women Rewrite Postcolonialism

"Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora accomplishes a sustained interrogation of Danticat's canon—including her most recent works—in ways that lay the critical foundation not only for a reappraisal of the author's writing, but also for her place within the larger discursive nexus of African diaspora writing or immigrant literature. Such a work is long overdue, and it makes a case for itself as the most exhaustive treatment of Danticat's expanding literary output."

- Maxine Lavon Montgomery, editor of Conversations with Edwidge Danticat

"Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora is a thought-provoking collection of cutting-edge research articles on Danticat’s works by both emerging and established scholars. Alongside recent publications, . . . it ushers in a new stage of scholarship on Danticat."

- Contemporary Women’s Writing

"This interdisciplinary collection of readable essays by seasoned and junior scholars examines Danticat's entire corpus from fresh perspectives. . . . Recommend."

- A. J. Guilliame, Jr., CHOICE