Marronage--the process of flight by slaves from servitude to establish their own hegemonies in inhospitable or wild territories---had its beginnings in the early 1500s in Hispaniola, the first European settlement in the New World. As fictional personae the maroons continue to weave in and out of oral and literary tales as central and ancient characters of Jamaica's heritage. Attributes of the maroon character surface in other character types that crowd Jamaica's literary history--resentful strangers, travelers, and fugitives; desperate misfits and strays; recluses, rejects, wild men, outcasts; and rebels in physical and psychological wildernesses. Defining Jamaican Fiction focuses on the place of Jamaican fiction in the larger regional literature, on its essential themes, and on the strategies of discourse for conveying these themes.
Barbara Lalla is Professor of Language and Literature in the Department of Liberal Arts, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad. Her doctorate is in Medieval Studies, and teaching includes Language History, Literary Linguistics, and Medieval and Postcolonial Literature. Publications include Language in Exile: Three Hundred Years of Jamaican Creole (1990) and Voices in Exile: Jamaican Texts of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (1989), companion volumes both co-authored/co-edited with Professor Jean D'Costa; Defining Jamaican Fiction: Marronage and the Discourse of Survival (1996), and articles on Caribbean literature, discourse and language history. Her historical novel, Arch of Fire, appeared in 1998, and has since been translated into German (Flammedes Land, 2000).