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An Oceanic Nation of Pirates in Emmanuel Appadocca or Blighted Life: A Tale of the Boucaneers

Olivia Tjon-A-Meeuw

Published In:
Published Date:

January 2022


Carribean, Piracy, Nation, Empire, Heterotopia, Atopia, Emmanuel Appadocca, Maxwell Philip


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.

Published in:



81 - 100

Date of Publication:

January 2022

About the author

Olivia Tjon-A-Meeuw

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.

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