American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography offers a new approach to the writing of literary history. In the past, literary history has been based on the Romantic idea of the nation state: literature has been seen as the expression of an evolving national identity and literary history therefore written backwards. This series approaches it geographically, the focus is on the regions within an area which crosses national borders.
'American Tropics' refers to a kind of extended Caribbean, an area which includes the Southern USA, the Atlantic littoral of Central America, the Caribbean islands, and northern South America. This area shares a history in which the dominant fact is the arrival of millions of white Europeans and black Africans; shares an environment which is tropical or sub-tropical; and shares a socio-economic model (the plantation) whose effects lasted at least well into the 20th century. The imaginative space of the American Tropics therefore offers a differently-centred literary history from those conventionally produced as US, Caribbean, or Latin American literature.
Maria Cristina Fumagalli, University of Essex
Peter Hulme, University of Essex
Owen Robinson, University of Essex
Lesley Wylie, University of Leicester