Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Jeanne Garane


The Caribbean has always been a contested space, a space difficult to define, and the literary genre of the short story has always been difficult to define as well. As a region and as a genre, what they share is less prestige, and less development, than other regions and genres. This dissertation brings both of these elements together in a comparative literature study of three twenty-first century Caribbean short story anthologies from the three major linguistic traditions of the Caribbean (English, French, and Spanish). The distinguishing characteristic of these short stories, and the overarching framework for this study, is that of emergence, or more specifically, emerging populations. This builds on and critiques Frank O’Connor’s concept of submerged populations as a particularity of the short story genre. This dissertation examines the three anthologies from five different angles in order to show how contemporary Caribbean writers, as a whole, demonstrate the concept of emergence. Initially, though aware of and formed by the colonial past, they do not reveal an overall preoccupation with that legacy. Instead, they seek to establish their own literary agency and cultural identity in appropriating the short story genre, through truly Caribbean anthologies and through the genre of the fantastic. Finally, they also dialogue with social constructs and cultural structures such as gender, sex, space, and language in order to establish what their Caribbean is – emerging, as it were, from the past without abandoning it, and distinguishing themselves from others in the present, in order to construct their own future.


© 2019, Jeremy Patterson