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A State of Interdependence: Caryl Phillips and the Postwar World Order

J. Dillon Brown

Abstract


This essay examines Caryl Phillips’s second novel, A State of Independence, suggesting that it is often left out of critical accounts of Phillips’s career not only, as has been assumed, because of its formal simplicity, but also and primarily because of its ambivalent representation of the United States. Considering the novel’s critical reception within the broader patterns of postcolonial literary scholarship, the essay argues for a reading of the book that emphasizes its measured evaluation of U.S. influence in the post-independence landscape. In doing so, it ties the novel’s concerns directly to Phillips’s later work and career, while proposing that his entire oeuvre can be seen to suggest a mode of critique far more attuned to the affective, political, and economic nuances of global U.S. power than is normally encouraged by postcolonial critical paradigms.


Keywords


Phillips, Caryl; Imperialism (United States); Neocolonialism; Postcolonial Criticism; Caribbean Literature (English)

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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