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Nature-Function in Caryl Phillips’s Cambridge

Carine Mardorossian


The author's ecocritical reading of Caryl Phillips’s Cambridge (1991) reveals the extent to which nonhuman landscapes in Caribbean fiction harbor a multiplicity of meanings. These meanings work in tandem with other sites of difference such as race and gender to produce the category “human” in a way that has gone unaddressed in the current ecocritical consensus surrounding the untenability of the human/nonhuman dyad. Instead of discussing the environment as a backdrop to human affairs and relations that it may or may not be seen as influencing, the environment in Caryl Phillips’s work operates, the author argues, as a form of “landscape-function” that echoes Foucault’s analysis of authorship.  This “landscape-function” challenges approaches that foreground the environment as a pre-existing space that evolves outside of the subject and instead sees it as function of discourse, i.e. as instrumental to the construction of the humanist subject.


ecocriticism, Caryl Phillips, Cambridge, environment, human

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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