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On Writing with Photography$
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Karen Beckman and Liliane Weissberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816674695

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816674695.001.0001

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“Watch How Dem Touris’ Like Fe Look”

“Watch How Dem Touris’ Like Fe Look”

Tourist Photography and Claude McKay’s Jamaica

(p.41) 3 “Watch How Dem Touris’ Like Fe Look”
On Writing with Photography

Leah Rosenberg

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on Claude McKay, who launched his literary career with creole poems written in the voice of Jamaican speakers that detail daily experiences and existential crises. It discusses McKay’s portrayal of the Jamaican peasantry in relation to tourist photography of the early 20th century, producing a new and powerful imperial way of representing the Caribbean called “tropicality”. McKay’s 1912 dialect poetry Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads constituted Jamaica’s first self-consciously national literature and was part of Jamaica’s emergent cultural nationalism, promoting Jamaican literature centered on the peasantry.

Keywords:   Claude McKay, creole poems, Jamaican peasantry, tourist photography, tropicality, Songs of Jamaica, Constab Ballads, Jamaican literature, Caribbean

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