J. Dillon Brown

Associate Professor of English
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
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    • Washington University
    • CB 1122
    • One Brookings Dr.
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Professor Brown's research and teaching interests center on postcolonial literature and theory, with a particular focus on the English-speaking Caribbean.

    J. Dillon Brown's research and teaching interests center on postcolonial literature and theory, with a particular focus on the English-speaking Caribbean. His first book, Migrant Modernism: Postwar London and the West Indian Novel (University of Virginia Press, 2013), traces the interrelations between postwar West Indian novels and the British modernist tradition.  His essays and reviews have been published in a variety of places, including Contemporary LiteratureModern Fiction StudiesARIEL, and the Journal of West Indian Literature.  He is currently working on a collection (co-edited with Leah Rosenberg), Beyond Windrush: Rethinking Postwar West Indian Literature (forthcoming from the University of Mississippi Press), as well as a book that examines the multifarious roles the United States has played in the cultural and political imagination of the Caribbean.

    Courses

    • L14 104 Writing Identity
    • L14 524 Seminar: International Modernism/World Literature
    • L14 3520 Introduction to Postcolonial Literature
    • L14 356 Art of the Novel
    • L14 2152 Modern Texts and Contexts
    • L14 3071 Caribbean Literature in English
    • L14 411 The Empire Writes Back
    • L14 151 Lit Seminar for Freshman: Immigrants and Exiles
    Beyond Windrush: Rethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature

    Beyond Windrush: Rethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature

    This edited collection challenges a long sacrosanct paradigm. Since the establishment of Caribbean literary studies, scholars have exalted an elite cohort of émigré novelists based in postwar London, a group often referred to as "the Windrush writers" in tribute to the SS Empire Windrush, whose 1948 voyage from Jamaica inaugurated large-scale Caribbean migration to London. In critical accounts this group is typically reduced to the canonical troika of V. S. Naipaul, George Lamming, and Sam Selvon, effectively treating these three authors as the tradition's founding fathers. These "founders" have been properly celebrated for producing a complex, anticolonial, nationalist literature. However, their canonization has obscured the great diversity of postwar Caribbean writers, producing an enduring but narrow definition of West Indian literature.

    Beyond Windrush stands out as the first book to reexamine and redefine the writing of this crucial era. Its fourteen original essays make clear that in the 1950s there was already a wide spectrum of West Indian men and women--Afro-Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, and white-creole--who were writing, publishing, and even painting. Many lived in the Caribbean and North America, rather than London. Moreover, these writers addressed subjects overlooked in the more conventionally conceived canon, including topics such as queer sexuality and the environment. This collection offers new readings of canonical authors (Lamming, Roger Mais, and Andrew Salkey); hitherto marginalized authors (Ismith Khan, Elma Napier, and John Hearne); and commonly ignored genres (memoir, short stories, and journalism).

    Migrant Modernism: Postwar London and the West Indian Novel

    Migrant Modernism: Postwar London and the West Indian Novel

    In Migrant Modernism, J. Dillon Brown examines the intersection between British literary modernism and the foundational West Indian novels that emerged in London after World War II. By emphasizing the location in which anglophone Caribbean writers such as George Lamming, V. S. Naipaul, and Samuel Selvon produced and published their work, Brown reveals a dynamic convergence between modernism and postcolonial literature that has often been ignored. Modernist techniques not only provided a way for these writers to mark their difference from the aggressively English, literalist aesthetic that dominated postwar literature in London but also served as a self-critical medium through which to treat themes of nationalism, cultural inheritance, and identity.