“Madness Is Rampant on This Island”: Writing Altered States in Anglophone Caribbean Literature

  • Bénédicte LedentEmail author
  • Evelyn O’Callaghan
  • Daria Tunca
Part of the New Caribbean Studies book series (NCARS)


As outlined in this introductory chapter, this collection explores how Caribbean writers, including diasporic ones, accommodate altered states of consciousness, such as madness, and thereby reconfigure a space long constructed as a zone of degeneration and derangement. Taking as its starting point the pervasive representation of various forms of mental illness, breakdown, and psychopathology in Caribbean literature, this introduction surveys the sparse extant criticism, and invites us to reassess the slippery meaning of such words as “mad,” “madness,” and a semantically associated lexicon. This chapter also outlines how, dialoguing with texts and theories concerning affective and mental states that operate on planes other than the rational and the material, the contributors in three focused sections explore a richly evocative and often contradictory phenomenon, culturally constructed and often eluding precise depictions. The chapter closes by sketching other avenues for future research.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bénédicte Ledent
    • 1
    Email author
  • Evelyn O’Callaghan
    • 2
  • Daria Tunca
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiègeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.University of the West IndiesBridgetownBarbados

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