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Caryl Phillips and the Heroic

Ulla Rahbek

Abstract


This article explores the notion of the heroic in fictional and non-fictional work by Black British writer Caryl Phillips. Taking a point of departure in an ambivalent Caribbean longing for heroes, the piece discusses hero-theory and its usefulness for the types of heroes found in in Phillips’ writing. It focusses in particular on Crossing the River, The Atlantic Sound and A Distant Shore in its elaboration on what constitutes a Phillipsian heroic and how and where to locate these heroes. Traits such as dignity, courage, the clarity of no-saying and global ways of being and seeing emerge as heroic traits and are discussed with references also to some of Phillips’ essay from both A New World Order and Colour me English.


Keywords


Caryl Phillips, heroic, heroes, dignity, courage, no-sayers, fiction, non-fiction

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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