Caliban on the Edge

  • Chantal Zabus


The Australian Randolph Stows Visitants (1979) is, to Diana Brydon, akin to Lamming s Water with Berries in that they are both “more intrigued by the effects of the colonizing process on Prospero and by the potential for a re-definition of Caliban than by Miranda.” It is true that, although Lamming feels that Miranda has to expiate Prospero’s sins against the colonized, she remains a sexual bait and therefore somewhat peripheral in Prospero’s dealings with Caliban. Calibans new condition as a result of exile and Prospero’s loss of control are even more acute in the context of the heritage of the penal colony. “Australians, who feel themselves Calibans in relation to England, nonetheless tend to play Prospero in the South Pacific.”1 Or, as in Malouf’s work, they are permanent exiles who find death after encountering the “Aboriginal” Caliban. By the same token, the center is metamorphosed into a fuzzy set and the margins and the edges into new centers with blurred contours. This applies to Québec, as well, as a Calibanesque state ridged between two Prosper-ous giants. Whether Milan or Caliban’s island is the center depends a lot on who is sitting on the edge of whose culture.


Blood Relation Penal Colony Passive Resistance Sheer Edge Separatist Policy 
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© Chantal Zabus 2002

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  • Chantal Zabus

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