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'The One Who Comes from the Sea' : Marine crisis and the New Oceanic Weird in Rita Indiana’s La mucama de Omicunlé (2015).

Oloff, Kerstin and Deckard, Sharae (2020) ''The One Who Comes from the Sea' : Marine crisis and the New Oceanic Weird in Rita Indiana’s La mucama de Omicunlé (2015).', Humanities., 9 (3). p. 86.


Caribbean literature is permeated by submarine aesthetics registering the environmental histories of colonialism and capitalism. In this essay, we contribute to the emergent discipline of critical ocean studies by delineating the contours of the “Oceanic Weird”. We begin with a brief survey of Old Weird tales by authors such as William Hope Hodgson and, most famously, H.P. Lovecraft, who were writing in the context of a world still dominated by European colonialism, but increasingly reshaped by an emergent US imperialism. We explore how these tales are both ecophobic and racialized, teeming with fears of deep geological time and the alterity of both nonhuman life and non-European civilizations, and argue that they register the oil-fuelled, militarised emergence of US imperial naval dominance. Subsequently, we turn to Rita Indiana’s neo-Lovecraftian novel, La mucama de Omicunlé [Tentacle, trans. Achy Obejas 2019], set in the Dominican Republic, as a key example of the contemporary efflorescence of ecocritical New Weird Caribbean fiction. We explore how the novel refashions Oceanic Weird tropes to represent the intertwining of marine ecological crisis in an era of global climate emergency with forms of oppression rooted in hierarchies of gender, sexuality, race, and class.

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Publisher statement:© This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:14 August 2020
Date deposited:19 August 2020
Date of first online publication:19 August 2020
Date first made open access:19 August 2020

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