Matthew Reisz (Times Higher Education, 2 January 2020) gathers recommendations on good books from “scholar-reviewers.” Joanna Newman is reading Sarah Phillips Casteel’s 2016 Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination.
Joanna Newman, chief executive and secretary general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, is reading Sarah Phillips Casteel’s Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2016). “From the 17th century onwards, there have been continuous waves of Jewish migration to the Caribbean. Casteel’s book focuses on the writings of Caribbean authors born since the war, including Derek Walcott, Michelle Cliff, David Dabydeen, Cynthia McLeod, Jamaica Kincaid and Caryl Phillips, who have been deeply influenced by Jewish-Caribbean themes. In the first half, she explores the trauma of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 (and their subsequent diaspora to the Caribbean). The second looks at Holocaust memory, in the light of the history I recently explored in Nearly the New World: The British West Indies and the Flight from Nazism, 1933-1945. Citing Paul Gilroy’s seminal work Black Atlantic, Casteel argues that fiction is ahead of academic studies in offering a comparative analysis of the connections between colonial racism, antisemitism and fascism.” [. . .]