Completed with the enthusiastic support and participation of the late Laureate, Jean Antoine-Dunne’s lively and enriching study begins in a recognition of how important film has been in the whole of Derek Walcott’s career.
It is not merely that Derek Walcott wrote a number independent film scripts such as The Rig, The Haitian Earth and To Die for Grenada and wrote film treatments of several of his plays such as for Marie Laveau, Ti Jean and O Babylon, and also a film treatment of his poetic epic Omeros, but that the whole of Walcott’s work, whether poetry, drama or painting, is infused with the sense of the filmic. As she says, “I see him as a film poet”.
This study, written with unrivalled access both to Walcott and to his multiple library archives, moves in several directions. Firstly, it comprises a record of all Walcott’s work in film, extensively illustrated with his storyboards and quotation from this mostly unpublished work.
Secondly, it tracks Walcott’s own commentary on the place of film in his aesthetics and on his ideas about reaching the widest possible audiences.
Thirdly it tracks those explicit moments in the texture of his work (Omeros is a key focus in this regard) where Walcott references film and the filmic.
Fourthly the study proposes ways of rereading Walcott’s work – its narrative modes, imagery and construction -- through the lense of the filmic and in particular through the work of Sergei Eisenstein and his conception of film montage.
Finally, the book makes an important contribution to the underdeveloped area of reception in Caribbean literary and aesthetic studies, exploring the concept of hybrid forms and their capacity to reach audiences excluded by the exclusively literary. Here, in an immensely stimulating argument, she brings together both the theoretical work of Gilles Deleuze and Caribbean discussions of the role of oral and visual traditions in Caribbean culture.