Language Garden, Jamaica Kincaid's Garden Writing, Frank Kingdon-Ward
While acknowledging their problematic nature, postcolonial writer Jamaica Kincaid maintains a predilection for explorer narratives. Between her two most exploratory and garden-related works, My Garden (Book): and Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas, she refers to at least ten such narratives, and in Among Flowers she calls the Pilgrims Book House in Kathmandu, Nepal, the best bookstore in the worldthat is, if you are interested in the world of exploration (11). In her preface to Frank Kingdon-Ward's collected plant hunting writings, In the Land of the Blue Poppies, she notes an enjoyment of the pleasurable disturbances that accompany the genre (xiii), and mentions that it was because of reading [Kingdon-Ward] that I came to want to be associated with the adventure of seed collecting (xvi).
She admits to a fascination with the authoritative and the overwhelmingly confident (My Garden (Book): 81) in writing, and thus enjoys the style of purportedly authoritative (bullying) garden texts such as James and Louise Bush-Brown's America's Garden Book and the texts of Gertrude Jekyll. In claiming I cannot resist anyone who can write such a sentence (82), Kincaid might be talking about an identical vein of confidence found in explorer narratives. Consider this passage from Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico, a text to which Kincaid makes reference in My Garden (Book): [The Aztecs] wanted the refinement of manners essential to a continued advance in civilization. An insurmountable limit was put to theirs by that bloody mythology which threw its withering taint over the very air that they breathed (204). Is this not the bullying of which Kincaid playfully accuses her favourite garden writers?
[...] Lipincott Company, c.1873. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. the Subaltern Speak?” Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Eds. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Illinois: University of Illinois Press 271-316. [...]
[...] Guest Lecture. Prescott, W. H. History of the Conquest of Mexico, Vol. I. Ed. John Foster Kirk. Philadelphia: J.B. [...]
[...] Despite the many instances of “What to it engenders Kincaid enjoys her attempts to order, the vexations of this attempt, and the many surprises that arise in the space of her garden. Perhaps because it disrupts any notions of authority or control, she finds it a productive space for mapping an identity as a person whose African ancestors were brought to Antigua who has chosen to relocate to Vermont and is thus, as Rachel Azima points out, the native” anywhere. [...]
[...] Garden has been banished into Nature, and Nature, she suggests in Among Flowers, has been likewise banished into the Garden, to the point where they have become one and the same. The merging of these two modes of landscape typically viewed as disparate provides an interesting critique of explorer narratives' focus on untamed Nature. As Casteel states, contrast to wilderness settings such as the forest or the desert, the garden foregrounds rather than suppresses the human presence in nature” Kincaid transposes awareness, a self-consciousness, an artifice” (Among Flowers 188) associated with the garden onto mountain landscapes in order to reveal the psychological construction that underlies concepts of wilderness. [...]
[...] Writing from the perspective of an avid gardener—and garden deconstructionist—she explores the botanical effects of exploration and its result of colonization on her native Antigua. In her essay “What Joseph Banks Wrought,” she describes the possessive impulses that manifested in the explorations of “botany thief” Meriwether Lewis and co-explorer William Clark, and in the exploits of Joseph Banks, the English naturalist and world traveler, and the founder of Kew Gardens, which was then a clearinghouse for all the plants stolen from the various parts of the world these people had been (the climbing rose R. [...]
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