Abstract: In Emmanuel Appadocca or Blighted Life: A Tale of the Boucaneers (1854), sometimes called the first novel of the Anglophone Caribbean, Maxwell Philip has his eponymous protagonist revenge himself on the world as a pirate in the transnational space of the Caribbean. The pirate forms not only a crew but a nation that functions as a challenge to the British Empire. The novel thus subverts the traditional accusation of pirates as men without a nation. As captain of this ship-nation, Appadocca is no longer excluded because of his race. In analysing this relatively little-known novel, I investigate how his nation can exist because it is limited to a ship, a heterotopic space. It moves within the atopia of the ocean, an untameable space that takes up a central role in the British imaginary precisely because it is outside the power of the Empire. The question remains whether such an oceanic nation can ever be stable.
Keywords: Caribbean; Piracy; Nation; Empire; Heterotopia; Atopia; Emmanuel Appadocca; Maxwell Philip
Biography: Olivia Tjon-A-Meeuw is part of the English and American Literary Studies
doctoral program at the University of Zurich, working on her dissertation on dispositives
of race and sexuality within the Caribbean context in both Victorian and neo-Victorian
novels. She is the author of “The Daughters of Bertha Mason: Caribbean Madwomen in
Laura Fish’s Strange Music” in Neo-Victorian Madness: Rediagnosing Nineteenth-Century Mental Illness in Literature and Other Media.
A.4. An Oceanic Nation of Pirates in Emmanuel Appadocca or Blighted Life: A Tale of the Boucaneers