Marseille exposed: Under surveillance in Claude McKay's banjo and romance in Marseille

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Abstract

This article examines the representation of surveillance in Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille and the influence of surveillance on the novel's aesthetics. It uses McKay's 1929 novel Banjo as a prior representation of Marseille that establishes the historical constraints under which characters in Romance navigate the social world of Quayside, the city's international working-class quarter. The article argues that McKay depicts an important moment in which state and corporate actors create networks of transnational surveillance that aim at securing an advantageous global distribution of labor for capital. McKay's novel examines the mechanisms through which surveillance controls the mobility of racialized and gendered bodies, and depicts the strategies of resistance that such characters deploy more and less successfully against these often-violent mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-108
Number of pages16
JournalEnglish Language Notes
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Claude McKay
  • Gender
  • Modernism
  • Romance in Marseille
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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