Narrative Rewritings and Artistic Praxis in Derek Walcott's Works: Caribbean Decolonisations

This book focuses on Derek Walcott’s literary and artistic wor(l)d. Western postcolonial critique has depicted the Nobel Prize laureate as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century world. This, however, devalues his fundamental contribution to the realm of Caribbean theatre and art. The text examines Walcott’s multimodal production, a combination of West Indian folkloric forms and Western-oriented structures and themes, by discussing three of his works—two plays, The Joker of Seville and Pantomime, and a long poem, Tiepolo’s Hound. These epitomise respectively a response to Spanish, English, and French cultural legacies in the New World as postcolonial re-writings of Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe, and Camille Pissarro’s stories. Following Quijano and Mignolo’s decolonial approaches and Riane Eisler’s partnership perspective, the book uncovers the strategies used by Walcott to respond to the colonial matrix of power.

Mattia Mantellato holds a PhD (Doctor Europaeus) in English Language and Literatures from the University of Udine, Italy, and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow working on the project “English Caribbean Literatures of the Ocean: Eco-Feminist and Transdisciplinary Perspectives for a New Blue Aesthetic”. He researches and publishes on Derek Walcott’s work, world literatures, English literature, performance and dance studies and multimodal studies. He is also a professional ballet dancer, choreographer and artist. He graduated from La Scala Ballet Academy in Milan, and, for seven seasons, was part of the ensemble of the National Ballet Theatre of Prague.

"There is something prescient in Mantellato’s praxis, in his exceptional approach to both art and academia, in the infinite possibilities his work opens for the rest of us. Like Walcott, he is crossing, playing around with, deconstructing and abating unexpected and unwanted borders. The book is a jewel. A joy."

Isabel Alonso-Breto, Lingue e Linguaggi 53

"In 1992, when the St Lucian writer Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee famously described his work as “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment. Arguably, therefore, no critical reading of Walcott’s work could be either valuable or illuminating without fully engaging with these three major features of his oeuvre. Happily, Mattia Mantellato’s Narrative Rewritings and Artistic Praxis in Derek Walcott’s Works: Caribbean Decolonisations not only competently pays tribute to, and creatively engages with all three, but it forcefully reasserts, more broadly, the value of interdisciplinarity for the formulation, expression, and dissemination of critical thinking."

Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Le Simplegadi, Vol. XX, No. 22

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ISBN: 1-5275-8806-8

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-8806-6

Release Date: 23rd August 2022

Pages: 382

Price: £69.99