Creative and Cultural Identity in the Work of Anson Gonzalez: A Study of Proseleela, Chela Quest, and Crossroads of Dream as Spiritual and Literary Autobiography

Cynthia James


The work of Anson Gonzales a pioneer in the literary arts of Trinidad and Tobago from 1973 -1993 has been grossly overlooked. This analysis of his first three collections of the twenty-first century attempts to put his own writing on par with his work as facilitator of a generation of writers in his journal The New Voices. Referencing Sandra Pouchet Paquet's Caribbean Autobiography (2002) alongside Jerome Bruner's and Jens Brockmeier's theory on narrative and identity, this article analyses Gonzalez's Proseleela (2007), Chela Quest (2005), and Crossroads of Dream (2003) and finds that different from earlier work, these collections read like sequential life-narratives of a shifting authorial persona creating a retrospective teleology, foregrounding the creative, cultural and spiritual centre of his life-work. Alongside its analysis of the spiritual, the article reveals the extent to which the indigenous, multi-ethnic, and bacchanalian culture of Trinidad and Tobago creates polyphony for Gonzalez's work under the following four headings: (1) Of Reiterations and Recurrent Motifs - Intimations of Autobiographical Structuring; (2) The Man in the Mirror: The Shifting Narratological Persona in Proseleela, Chela and Crossroads; (3) Building a Retrospective Teleology in the Narrative of the Ramleela; and (4) Integrations of a Creative and Cultural Identity.


cultural identity; creative identity; spiritual autobiography; Caribbean autobiography; multi-ethnicity; Hinduism; Ramleela

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