Snow on the Cane Fields was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In a probing analysis of creole women's writing over the past century, Judith Raiskin explores the workings and influence of cultural and linguistic colonialism. Tracing the transnational and racial meanings of creole identity, Raiskin looks at four English-speaking writers from South Africa and the Caribbean: Olive Schreiner, Jean Rhys, Michelle Cliff, and Zoë Wicomb. She examines their work in light of the discourses of their times: nineteenth-century "race science" and imperialistic rhetoric, turn-of-the-century anti-Semitic sentiment and feminist pacifism, postcolonial theory, and apartheid legislation.
In their writing and in their multiple identities, these women highlight the gendered nature of race, citizenship, culture, and the language of literature. Raiskin shows how each writer expresses her particular ambivalences and divided loyalties, both enforcing and challenging the proprietary British perspective on colonial history, culture, and language. A new perspective on four writers and their uneasy places in colonial culture, Snow on the Cane Fields reveals the value of pursuing a feminist approach to questions of national, political, and racial identity.
Judith Raiskin is assistant professor of women's studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.