chapter  19
8 Pages

The Urban–Rural Dialectic and the Changing Role of Black Women: Jane’s Career, Banana Bottom, Minty Alley and Pocomania: Belinda Edmondson

Although novels and other literary expressions were being produced in the Englishspeaking Caribbean from the late eighteenth century, the early decades of the twentieth century are the period associated with the beginnings of Caribbean literature. This is so because of the confluence of factors: the unprecedented number of newspapers and magazines being published during this period; the rise of a generation of literate black and non-white readers who were the fruits of the mandate for a free basic education in the English colonies; the increasingly urban nature of the societies as rural labourers moved to the cities and their populations swelled; and the surging nationalism of Caribbean countries, which began to seriously consider some form of autonomy from Great Britain. The combustion of these elements produced the literary ferment that led to the ground-breaking novels, or ‘textual turning points’, that define the themes of Caribbean literature into the present.