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lahocybu.ga: The Novels of Samuel Selvon: A Critical Study (Bibliographies and Indexes in American History) (): Roydon Salick: Books. Editorial Reviews. Review. "[t]here is no doubt that this study, unique in its style and quality, will The Novels of Samuel Selvon: A Critical Study (Bibliographies and Indexes in American History Book ) . This book corrects that imbalance by placing Selvon's novels within historical, sociological, and ideological contexts .
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Follow Us. It is a cross-cultural commonplace that dialect first enters any literature as a device for comedy, as an admirable means for depiction in the low mimetic style. Its most obvious value is in the representation of character, and in the directness with which it can distinguish a voice from that of the poet.
Dialect is the sound of someone the poet hears, but is not. Breiner, His search for an appropriate language was based to some extent on instinct, but his instincts proved to be highly appropriate and contributed in significant ways to making dialect an effective tool for the representation of Caribbean culture. I did not pick the Jamaican way of talking in London. I only tried to produce what I believed was thought of as a Caribbean dialect.
The modified version in which I write my dialect may be a manner of extending the language. It may be called artificial and fabricated. The way I treat the language is not the way it is spoken in Jamaica, or Barbados, or Trinidad either, for that matter.
He was increasing the capacity of the language to become a dimension of the narrative, to express more than just a Caribbean reality. To emphasize orality is not only to represent the way people speak, but to allow the story itself to be shaped by the forces that are active in a society in which orality plays an important role. Selvon was not consciously attempting to represent a culture based on orality in the way that Earl Lovelace and Robert Antoni would do so later on, but he nonetheless discovered that the anecdotic nature of storytelling among the Caribbeans represented in The Lonely Londoners reflected an important aspect of the life of Caribbeans, they way they relate to each other and to experience 4.
He said in speaking of the novel:.
I had in store a number of wonderful anecdotes, both about Trinidad and immigrants in London. I had wonderful anecdotes and could put them into focus, but I had difficulty starting the novel in straight English.
Thus Selvon was not simply using dialect; he was writing a novel strongly influenced by the notion of orality. The way in which the characters and the narrator express themselves and communicate with each other and with the reader does not only reflect dialectal forms of speech. The novel itself, its story and themes, are based to a large extent on the principles of a culture in which orality plays an important role.
Accompanying explorations of the use of orality in poetry, theater and fiction is a growing body of theoretical writing which has been used to elucidate and clarify the practice of written representations of orality. The use of orality by Caribbean writers has been accompanied in many cases by a theoretical and ideological reflection on the subject, particularly on the part of writers who see the use of orality as a tool for freeing the representation of Caribbean experience from the stranglehold of European aesthetics.
The Lonely Londoners , although published at a time when the use of orality had not yet become an important tool in the postcolonial struggle to define a Caribbean aesthetic, still constitutes one of the most successful uses or orality in fiction written by a Caribbean author. The very modesty and apparent simplicity of the novel are deceptive, for while writers like Chamoiseau, and to some extent Robert Antoni, oblige the reader to make a considerable effort to enter the universe which they construct through an invented Creole, Selvon draws the reader almost effortlessly into his world.
The underpinnings of this apparent simplicity merit investigation, for they provide important clues to the successful use of orality. They also offer an interesting opportunity to explore the relation between orality and the notion of voice, two ideas which although related are not identical. Orality, while suggesting the idea of performance and the presence of sound, can be represented by language.
But voice, as Mladen Dolar has recently demonstrated, cannot be reduced to language and reveals an irreducible tension between sound and meaning. It is writing that introduces a distance between context and cultural expression, making possible a complex representation of fictional worlds which are self-explanatory. The intimate link between orality and the contexts in which it is produced and performed makes it difficult for a writer to use orality in a work aimed partly at an audience unfamiliar with the context of its production and performance.
Seen in this perspective, the seemingly episodic quality of the novel reveals an underlying structure in which language plays a major role.