Please Note: This is a new version of a previously announced text.
West of Eden is an extensive cross-disciplinary study covering a huge range
of topics in the field of botanical discourse within colonial and post-colonial
contexts. Stemming from an existing European tradition of name giving to
take possession of the ‘rarities’ of the new world, it extends to female writing,
songs and Bible translation into Creoles. It analyses the diversity of
nomenclature in the different geographic areas: the Americas, the Caribbean,
Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
What is at stake here is also the loss of roots and identity when, as in the
case of the Afro-Caribbean plants have been brought along the slave-route
from the different parts of Africa.
With other established authorities (Allsopp, Alleyne, Cassidy), the authors
take vibrant stance against the prejudice that contact languages develop
endless synonyms for one plant, when phytonyms are allonyms, i.e. coming
from other places and other languages. But most of all West of Eden tells us
a lot about the richness of an eco-literature which is at risk. The loss of a
flower or plant, may also mean the loss of the name it had in language
system, and vice-versa. The two factors are inter-dependent.