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Criticism, Summer 2000 v42 i3 p317 Re(playing) Crusoe/Pocahontas: Circum-Atlantic Stagings in The Female American.

(Critical Essay) BETTY JOSEPH. Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2000 Wayne State University Press REWRITINGS OF CANONICAL NOVELS from marginal perspectives not only demonstrate the power of the original to command the desire for imitation but also expose its silences and contradictions. Where the prior text's contradictions may have been resolved through a variety of dominant readings, the rewritings go beyond the moment of critical rereading to one of production. They foreground concerns that have slipped through the operations of various critical unfoldings of the text and set up another text as a relatively autonomous but supplementary interlocutor, which seems to add to and substitute for the original at the same time. Thus, even though Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe has continually lent itself to textual reevaluations from various theoretical positions, the novel's glaring absence of women has kept it away from the focus of much feminist analysis of eighteenthcentury fiction. On the other hand, contemporary rewritings of the novel, like J. M. Coetzee's Foe, have tried to address this exclusion by recasting both Defoe and his protagonist, Crusoe, as minor characters within a woman-centered narrative, or in the case of Michel Tournier's Friday, have reinscribed Crusoe's island as "woman" and renamed the novel for its colonial Other.(1) It would, however, be a mistake to think that such revisionings are confined to our historical moment, a moment inflected both by critical theory debates within the literary establishment and by the legacy of feminist and anticolonial movements. In fact, because Robinson Crusoe became immensely popular at a time when the status of both the European woman and the colonial Other were being debated and inscribed into the discourses of the Enlightenment, it is very likely that the novel was easy game for a reader or writer interested in supplanting the white male of property as human norm.(2) In this essay, I will look at The Female American (1767), an anonymous novel which is for the most part ignored in studies of eighteenthcentury British or American literature, as a text that not only rewrites Robinson Crusoe but also tries to replace the original through a complex process of surrogation, rendered all the more complex because it transforms Defoe's castaway narrative into one of female selffashioning and into a critique of colonialism at the same time.(3) "Surrogation," as Joseph Roach's recent study Cities of the Dead suggests, is a matrix within which historical consciousness as such is performed or reenacted as the praxis of memory, as a performance of the past as "restored behavior."(4) So why, one may ask, would a female playing Crusoe have any special claim to "complexity" when she is only reenacting a narrative already mythical in its cultural influence? The answer, I think, lies in what Roach identifies as the limits to the performances of the already-familiar:
Into the cavities created by loss through death or other forms of departure ... survivors attempt to fit satisfactory alternates. Because collective memory works selectively, imaginatively, and often perversely, surrogation rarely if ever succeeds. The process requires many trials and at least as many errors. The fit cannot be exact. The intended substitute either cannot fulfill expectations, creating a deficit, or actually exceeds them, creating a surplus.(5)

This imperative to replace that is also and at once the impossibility of doing so creates both new spaces and objects; it is a divergence where new historical subjects may appear and take

their place in a literary tradition. In Female American, the fictional narrator-author Unca Winkfield is quite aware that no actual or perceived vacancies occur in Defoe's narrative or in eighteenth-century British novelistic conventions for her to move in and occupy through a simple sleight of hand. For the female subject of adventure, the entry into writing is always a deliberated clearing of space rather than the act of occupying a vacancy; hence, the novel's early caveat about the appropriateness of a woman protagonist is a sort of forced entry:
The lives of women being commonly domestic, the occurrences of them are generally pretty, nearly of the same kind; whilst those of men, frequently more vagrant, subject them often to experience greater vicissitudes, many times wonderful and strange. Though a woman, it has been my lot to have experienced much of the latter; for so wonderful and strange and uncommon have been the events of my life, that true history, perhaps, never recorded any that were more so. (6)

Even as she apologizes for the uninteresting lives of women and the homogeneity of their experiences, Unca also suggests that simply being men makes adventures of vagrancy "frequently" commonplace for them rather than exceptional. She thus questions the promised novelty behind Defoe's title of his 1724 first edition: The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe ... Written by Himself (my emphasis). Then, in the next sentence, when she appropriates and substitutes "wonderful and strange" from the narrative of male vagrancy to female vagrancy, which is without doubt, Unca claims, more "uncommon," she successfully enacts a kind of transplanting by using the same criteria whereby the novel provided "novelty" in its early stages of emergence in the eighteenth century. Yet, this moment of claiming the right to write her tale is not sufficient for the author-protagonist. Since Female American is set in the 1630s, she also goes on to perform a tongue-in-cheek usurpation of Defoe's place as a "founder" in the novelistic tradition by suggesting that Robinson Crusoe and similar tales are but imitations of her own unusual tale which she has already titled The Female American, or the Extraordinary Adventures of Unca Eliza Winkfield, Compiled by Herself. Here is Unca's foreshadowing of Defoe's "later" arrival into the canon:
Nor do I wonder that events so extraordinary should attract ... attention; and if they should be published in any country, I doubt not but they will soon be naturalized throughout Europe, and in different languages, and in succeeding ages, be the delight of the ingenious and inquisitive; and that some future bold adventurer's imagination, lighted up by my torch, will form a fictitious story of one of his own sex, the solitary inhabitant of a desolate island. (164; my italics)

An asterisk appears immediately after this passage and directs us to the bottom of the page, where a pseudo editor (much like the one in Defoe's novel) adds from his late eighteenthcentury standpoint: "Our authoress here seems to please herself, with the thoughts of the immortality of her history, and to prophecy of that of Robinson Crusoe, which is only inferior to her own, as fiction is to truth" (164). In this textual maneuver, Unca performs not the replacement of the dead father as the daughter's surrogation but a surmounting of the ancestor by rendering Defoe into a child of a tradition mothered by Unca in the previous century. There is no doubt that much of the novel's effectiveness lies in making its readers read it alongside Defoe's Crusoe, though it is also clear from the narrative divergence that The Female American is not merely an exercise in allusive play but an active rewriting of Defoe's novel. In the rest of this essay, I will elaborate on this textual exchange in order to show how the novel's attempt to supplant its novelistic ancestors (Defoe and Crusoe) creates in its wake, as narrative excess, the figure of Pocahontas, who installs a remarkably different civilizing project from that of her male counterparts. I will then read the deflected trajectory this female

historical figure of cultural crossing manages to effect, both for the novel's resolution as such and for its intended substitution in the transatlantic literary tradition. By contesting the conventional readings of transatlantic journeys as nationalistic exercises, I finally resituate this text within a postcolonial critical matrix, where it joins a new community of texts that remain in the liminal spaces between national boundaries or that represent the unassimilated spaces within national narratives. The Island as the Other's Space In a rare and early discussion of Female American, Tremaine McDowell notices that the author writes "with her eye on the text of Robinson Crusoe" but concludes that the "incidents recounted ... are so preposterous that the book has little intrinsic worth."(6) Clearly, the combination of a rehashing of the original and the lack of attention to verisimilitude damns the novel in the eyes of this critic; however, McDowell gives it three marks for uniqueness: it is, he says, the first novel to introduce the "South American Indian" into the "North American novel"; the first "American Robinson Crusoe," and the "first close imitation of any English novelist done by an American hand" (309). It is unclear how McDowell decides that the novel was done by an "American hand" except by taking the "American" in the title as indicator of national origin or by believing that representing native Indians is the prerogative of American novelists. The identity of the author has not yet been established and the novel itself was originally published in London in 1767, while subsequent American editions were issued around 1790 and in 1814. Though McDowell, who is invested in the literary value of realism and the making of an autonomous national literature, introduces the novel in his review as exemplifying "the perennial influence of those few pieces of early British fiction" (such as Robinson Crusoe) and "the literary poverty of eighteenth-century America," I do not read Female American's allusions to Defoe's text as a sign of national (or personal) dependence. Rather, the very play of citation or iteration sets American into a different orbit from the usual discussions of transatlantic exchanges and circulations between literary traditions. I will deal with this point in some detail in the next section, but first I will chart the plot details where this text lines up with Crusoe and then mark its point of departure from its discursive precursor. Like Crusoe, Unca Winkfield embarks on a number of transatlantic crossings. Hers are between England and the new settlements in Virginia, where her father owns a plantation. While heading home to England after his death, Unca is cast away on an island, which in its geographical proximity to the Americas closely resembles the one in Crusoe. Like Crusoe, she has to fend for herself with materials left from the ship, milk wild goats, and utilize the island's own natural resources. But whereas Crusoe's island was uninhabited for most of his stay (except when the locals paid their annual visit), Unca's island, though also visited once a year by the native Indians, has one permanent inhabitant: an English hermit who has lived there for forty years. The hermit's rude habitation saves Unca the labor of building one for herself, while his manuscript, which she finds by chance, provides instructions about procuring food and water, warnings about the weather and, most importantly, information about the annual visit of the Indians. But, it is almost as though the hermit's only function is to ease Unca's arrival and ensure her survival on the island, because he dies within a day of introducing himself to Unca. (One might surmise that because female possessive individualism measured through the accumulation of use-values is not a priority in this narrative, unlike Crusoe, it expends little labor in details about self-preservation and timemanagement.) Yet, Unca's plot deviates most explicitly from Defoe's in the way she does

spend her time on the island and the manner in which she engages the native Other. Initially, her fears prompt her to hide as Crusoe does (and as the hermit does as well), but she never considers attacking the Indians or capturing one as Crusoe did Friday Instead, after the first wave of fear and anxiety has passed, Unca realizes that her God-sent purpose on the island is to convert the natives to Christianity. When the narrative recasts the female castaway as missionary rather than as helpless victim of circumstance or exemplary survivor of extraordinary adventures, one is almost forced to revoke, through a retroactive reading, Defoe's narrative as a parable of individualist success. Crusoe's story, read back from Unca's, is a tale of Christian failure, not unlike that of the hermit, whose existence is also "futile" because of his self-enforced hiding from the natives. Thus, when the hermit's manuscript tells Unca "how you may subsist you may learn from the history of my life," it also retroactively reduces Defoe's Crusoe to a survival manual. The rather instrumental use of the Crusoe-like hermit in Female American suggests that he is merely a foil for supplantation and supersession, and Unca enacts precisely this when she uses the manuscript as her own handbook for survival, but then, contrary to the hermit's instructions to avoid the natives, goes further by writing the chapter that he could never write: the chapter in which the island itself is scripted into God's book through her hand, in the indelible ink of Christianity. To understand the manner in which the missionary is put together as female agent of the civilizing process, we have to witness the novel's narrative grafting, whereby another mythical narrative from the New World is transplanted into it in order to displace the roots of an earlier one which is now staged as that of the male (now failed) agent of civilization. American begins with a transatlantic crossing by Unca's grandfather and father, Edward Winkfield and William Winkfield respectively, to join other British settlers at Virginia. Soon after their arrival, their plantation is attacked by native Indians who take William Winkfield captive. In a reenactment of the Pocahontas tale, the "king's" daughter Unca pleads for his life; he is spared and given to the princess in marriage.(7) The couple is later allowed to leave the tribe and return to Winkfield's plantation, where their daughter (the protagonist-author, also named Unca) is born and raised in a manner that combines her Anglo and Indian heritage. Unca's name performs crossovers on several levels, thus even surpassing that of her historical ancestress, Pocahontas. First, there is a gendered and cultural crossover in the way "Unca" stands as a feminized version of an important player in American colonial history. "Uncas" was chief of the Mohicans when the tribe joined the Puritan settlers in a war against a fellow tribe (the Pequots) in the 1630s. In what is often seen as the first significant example of a bloody "primitive accumulation," the brutality of this war resulted in the virtual decimation of the Pequots and is believed to have stunned other tribes into treaties and compliance.(8) Uncas, a traitor to native struggles, remained a hero for the British, whom he aided in all their wars till his death in 1683. Next, we have the racial hybridity evoked by the conjunction of the native name with the patronymic "Winkfield," which also evokes the lineage of the original settlement. Unca's English grandfather's name, Edward Maria Winkfield, conjures for the informed reader the first titular head of the Jamestown colony--Edward Maria Wingfield (later replaced by the colonists with John Smith of Pocahontas fame in 1607).(9) Hence, in the novel, the colonial romance between Unca's parents not only recodes the Pocahontas tale as an assertion of the importance of matrimony as political exchange, but it also recasts filiation and cultural exchange as a story of female instrumentality. If the figure of Pocahontas reminds the novel's mostly white readers in the eighteenth century of the successful role a remarkable Amerindian woman played as mediator between native and settler, then the novel also

performs a racial crossover by producing as a figure of female power for the white reader's own pleasurable identification a biracial subject who is not-quite-white.(10) However, even though the proper name "Unca Winkfield" acts as a filiative sign that exceeds the function of the Name of the Father, it also performs the ideological function of concealing colonialist violence by troping a native name with that of a founding father. This iterative function, of the name privileges a rereading of the Pocahontas tale not as a colonial encounter showing the failure of reciprocity on the part of the settlers, but as what Peter Hulme calls the tale of "cultural harmony through romance." This reading in turn allows the novel to assert the role of native female agency as at least part Anglo and therefore transforms the limiting bounds of eighteenth-century white domestic space (alluded to in the earlier quote about female vagrancy) from the domain for transmission of love or inheritance into the very structure of civil society itself in the New World.(11) In the novel, the natives' conversion to Christianity is effected by Unca's manipulation of their religious structures and practices. While exploring the island for a hiding place before the natives' annual visit, Unca discovers a "temple" with a statue of the "Oracle of the Sun." The description of the idol is particularly significant given Unca's later objectives:
The image itself, of gold, greatly exceeded human size: it resembled a man clad in a long robe or vest; which reached quite down to the pedestal stone of the foundation on which it stood, and lay in folds upon it. This image was girt about the waist as with a girdle, and on each breast gathered to a point, fastened as it were, with a button; the neck and bosom quite bare like the manner of women. (105)

This hollow and trap-doored statue with its bisexual potential provides Unca with an "opening" that is consistent with the narrative's putting aside of the priorities of male conquering force for female civilizing.(12) Unca subsequently discovers a stairway running up the statue that takes her "quite into the body of it. and [her] head within the head of it. There were holes through the mouth, eyes, nose and the ears of it; so [she] could distinctly see all over the island before [her], of which height, [she] was at gave [her] a great command" (110). The statue's panoptic capabilities are then supplemented with a technological secret, discovered when Unca speaks her thoughts-aloud: "I had scarce uttered [these words] before I was stunned by the sound of my own voice. This image, particularly the head of it, it seems, was so wonderfully constructed as to increase the sound of even a low voice to such a degree as to exceed that of the loudest speaker" (110). After this point, the reader does not have to wait long before Unca's desire to convert the natives is actually realized with this technology that enables her at the same time to surmount her position as a relatively disempowered castaway: "I had no sooner made my fixed determination to retire to this place, but a very strange thought arose in my mind. It was nothing less than this, to ascend into the hollow idol, speak to the Indians from thence, and endeavor to convert them from their idolatry" (117). Buttressed by the instruments of phallic power, a big body and booming voice, the ventriloquism pays off and enacts an ironic reversal of the usual distribution of religious and political power in the eighteenth century when male public spheres emphasized both orality and literacy, as opposed to the female private sphere from where literacy and circumscribed forms of writing provided the only tickets into the public arena.(13) Here it is the disembodied but female voice amplified beyond the range of the human, impersonating an oracle and terrifying the natives with mimicry, that has greater power than Crusoe's musket or the book wielded by the male missionary. It is as a woman and a missionary that Unca goes to the heart of the other culture's belief system and colonizes its soul.(14) Triumphantly, she asserts after her success, "As I was well acquainted with the manners of the Indians, I adapted

my discourse to their own way of reasoning and avoided all such terms and modes of speech, as are intelligible only to Europeans" (167). In Unca's bisexual crossover, she not only inhabits the statue of the natives'-oracle and sermonizes to them in their own language but subsequently also uses the markers of her marginality (skin, gender) in order to penetrate the natives' everyday life. From her hiding place in the statue, Unca tells the now compliant and petrified natives assembled before her:
God hath been pleased to send into the world, from time to time, holy men and sometimes women, to instruct mankind in the knowledge of him; and at last his son to instruct them more fully.... A person shall come to you like yourselves, and that you may be less fearful or suspicious, that person shall be a woman, who will live among you as you do. (176)

Unca's proximity to the natives, enabled by her own hybridity, annihilates the Other as difference but saves it as a Christian soul. A philosophical project of sublation is also realized here in the missionary endeavor when the Christian soul not only becomes the fantasy of complete being--Unca resolves to live the rest of her life with them--but stages an interesting attempt to preserve the natives already threatened by the genocidal policies of the settlers in the New World. After Unca goes to live among them as their permanent "emissary" from the Christian God, a ship arrives on the island holding her cousin Winkfield, who has been dispatched by relatives in England to look for her. A much deferred courtship is brought to an end as Unca marries her cousin after he decides to join her missionary work on the island. But if this island resonated at any time for the reader as an allegorical representation of the North American colonies, or as the narration that constitutes the anticipated nation-to-be, the novel on at least two occasions forecloses such a reading. First we have Unca's own response when her isolation is interrupted by the "discovery" of the island by the shipload of Englishmen who accompany her cousin. Not knowing if the newcomers are pirates or castaways, Unca's first fear is for her safety, but her second "was for the Poor Indians, who would ... no doubt come upon the island, in search of me, and be taken for slaves. Nor might the evil stop thus; their country might be discovered, and probably invaded, and numbers of the people be carried away into slavery and other injuries committed" (199). Despite Unca's characterization of the island as "home" or "my island," the novel does not appropriate the island as personal property in the way Crusoe did for future settlement by Europeans. Rather, by characterizing the island as still undiscovered and still "their [native] country," Unca interrupts the usual homily of New World discovery as the work of Providence clearing the howling wilderness for the Englishmen.(15) Similarly, the novel's final words enact a secession from Europe (as the Declaration of Independence will do soon), but this secession does not simultaneously consolidate a national space as much as it proposes a retreat from all such exercises of the imagination:
We did not suffer the sailors to come any further upon the island, than just to land the goods, that no discovery of our habitation might be made. As we intended never to have any more to do with Europe, Captain Shore and my husband ordered a person who came for that purpose to return to Europe with the ship, by whom, for my father and mother's satisfaction, I sent over these adventures. (270)

On the contrary, as it ends, the novel imagines a complete release from history because there is no other way this island can survive. By not having "any more to do with Europe" Unca believes the island can escape colonialism, piracy, the transatlantic slave trade, bonded labor, and all those events that actually stand in the way of the successful proselyte.

By acknowledging that "saving" the natives for Christ by erasing their cultural difference is preferable to preserving English supremacy by exterminating the native through genocidal wars, Unca as missionary cuts across the tradition of originary Puritan narratives of nationbuilding (represented by early colonial texts such as those of Increase Mather). This tension between the British missionary projects and the settlers' genocidal ones was well recorded for the British public since the founding of a corporation called the "President and Society for Propagation of the Gospel in New England" by an act of Parliament in 1649.(16) In the eighteenth century the North American Indian tribes were already facing annihilation and English missionaries still practiced a design for native conversion first experimented with by the Puritan missionary John Eliot more than a hundred years before. This included preaching to the potential converts in their own tongue and securing reserves of "praying Indians" in "praying towns." In these towns, converts or sympathetic natives were protected against English encroachments even as they were forced to give up all further contact with their nonChristian compatriots.(17) One of the few successful settlements of "praying Indians" in New England was itself an island--Martha's Vineyard. For an account of these bounded spaces we can also go to Daniel Gookin's record of his missionary activity in the 1670s. This was not published until 1796, but it shows the paradigmatic resolution of the salvation/annihilation question that Unca faces at the end of the novel when she creates/writes a marginal topography separate from that of the settlers.(18) The "praying colonies" were meant to save both the native as Christian and the new American settler as "godly English," yet Gookin's attempt to represent these colonies as actual spaces of refuge for preserving a dying race ("These Indians have felt very little of this [King Philip's] war") is constantly undermined by accounts of their repeated ambushes by English settlers. Even Deer Island, to which the natives were removed for safety when their "praying town" came under attack, could not escape the settlers' violence.(19) Gookin gives us accounts of the systematic abductions of native Christians to be sold as slaves, their forcible conscription as soldiery to fight "barbarous" tribes, and, finally, horrifying accounts of deaths by starvation and disease on the island. Held captive though "saved" and picked off by vigilante groups when they attempted to run away, the natives on Deer Island, the so-called Christian islandcommunity, end up sounding like doomed inmates of a concentration camp run on a strict regimen of daily catechism. The point here is that even as Unca's closed-off island invokes this long history of an alternative (though disastrous) founding in the American colonies by missionaries (the remote control for which however still resided in England) the novel's ending also suggests the impossibility of creating such a space except as separate, or topographically isolated, from the rest of America. Ironically, its survival as a community can only be ensured by fracturing the identification held in place by the title, Female American. The novel finally creates a space that secedes not only politically but also in terms of knowledge or national history. It will continue to exist as a story that cannot be narrated for others or for a nation, and Unca's text which we are reading is thus neither the last English novel nor the first American novel but rather a story of the founding of a third space: an imagined community, where the founding father has been displaced by the not-quite-white mother, and where Christianity becomes a female fantasy of total being that rescues the native population from the history of Anglo founding and Anglo (male) missionary projects. This is not to assert, however, that American is a text for feminism or against nationalism as such, but rather that it is a text that shows us the contradictions that must accompany one specific historical attempt to enact female liberation through writing. On the one hand, we

have a woman as agent in her individual act of inscription into the field that exists around a mythical tale of male possessive individualism--Robinson Crusoe. And, on the other hand, the same individual moment of transgressive inscription is also subject to the determinations of other cultural, political, religious, legal, and sexual discourses within which this female subject can be put together--the substitute is never a close fit. As a historical subject, the woman's agency and desire are never entirely self-willed and never purely a question of unilateral movement through unmapped literary space. Unca's fantasy of unity with the native through soul-making saves the natives from themselves, but not from history, which continues to hold them captive on the island for successful missionary endeavor. Moreover, Unca's category of the "Indian" as a unified category of Central, South, and North American natives (done through the figuration of the Sun God), is an attempt to correct the cruelty of Spanish colonialism in the Americas, but it also installs by implication a kinder, gentler Protestant Christian nationalism against Catholic Spain's excesses. Finally, there is no question that Unca's marginality as woman serves, not as a tool to determine a relative autonomy for the native from European history (or the history of colonialism), but to transform this native psychically into a subject for Europe--even if not a national subject. Unca's dispersal of her subjectivity--bisexual, non-unified, and hybrid--may be a critique of the narcissistic imperial eye of mastery that surveys the native and denies its own transformation by that encounter. Yet, as Unca herself exults, this subjective lack, contrary to creating a new native mode of existence, is intended only as a strategy for further penetration. My reading has attempted to show that The Female American is useful for us as readers today because it triggers a theoretical and methodological crisis not only for feminist analyses but also for the very ways in which literary studies still serve to recode the power of the nation as a way of organizing knowledge production. In the next section, I will situate this text as a site of difference for two significant narrations of the nation and underscore how the work of postcolonial theorists such as Paul Gilroy and Homi Bhabha and partly derivative works such as Joe Roach's Cities of the Dead, for instance, may help us imagine a different textual community. By resituating texts in new and emergent contexts, this "community" formation can mimic the lived realities of communities that actually congeal in ways that disrupt the exclusive claims of nationality, especially within cultural traditions that have elided questions of genocide and the slave trade in the constitution of their literary canons. The Nation as Organizing Principle In her classic study, Revolution and the Word, Cathy Davidson indicates that her story of the rise of the novel in America is by no means an attempt to develop an "insular and ahistorical model of the `American mind' or an `American tradition' based solely on books written in the Americas"; it is after all well known that most books Americans read, even after Independence, came from abroad.(20) Yet Davidson asserts at the same time that Americans used the novel "to express their own vision of a developing new nation," and "[l]ike writers in any country that has achieved independence through revolution early American novelists faced the special task of creating literature against the overwhelming impact of their nation's residual Colonial mentality" 11). While it is true that the postcolonial moment is often most visible as a moment of nationalist consolidation, Davidson is also assuming the recoding power of the nation as already given when she says that national "boundaries are all the more difficult to perceive because of a persistent imperial presence" (11). Are national, and by implication literary boundaries any less difficult to perceive, after the moment of independence? To be fair, Davidson is clearly aware that ultimately it is institutional rules (like copyright law) that make the book (a commodity with transatlantic referents, audiences,

and orbits of circulation) into a national product, a product that is never fully assimilated, even when readers and writers are trying to obey the repeated argument of the new national literary canonists that "Americans should read and buy American books" (11). Thus, while institutional criteria such as place of official birth, place of publication, and so forth, may give the national public of the new nation (and Davidson herself) the identity marks to determine the first "American novel," it is ironic that today the very "transatlantic disavowal" that helped solidify the "American" novel is already replaced by a happy marriage of British and American literature (housed in English departments) as the national literatures of the United States. This ambivalent process of identification and disavowal in literary history is foreclosed in Davidson's otherwise illuminating account; her focus ends up falling on the institutionalization of a literary object that is taken to be the property of one national space. On the other hand, Benedict Anderson's highly influential book, Imagined Communities, addresses not only the psychic pleasures of such simultaneous identification and disavowal but also theorizes the movement of commodities and peoples as a process that serves to congeal national identity rather than disperse or unfix it.(21) So, while for Davidson the avowed national identity of the title of the novel, Female American, its anonymous author, and its original place of publication (London) pull the text in opposite directions (both sides of the Atlantic) and make its national status indeterminable, Anderson would say that it is precisely this tug-of-war that constitutes nationality in the first place. Asking why it was "creole communities that developed so early conceptions of their nation--well before most of Europe" (50, emphasis in original), Anderson offers a possible answer: "the `journey' between times, statuses and places as a meaning creating experience" (53). Elaborating on what he calls the "arrested pilgrimage" of the Spanish Creoles, Anderson argues that those in the colonies soon realized that their "accident of birth" in the Americas consigned them to subordination, though in every other way they were indistinguishable from the Spain-born Spaniards. The Creole circulated mostly in the colonial spaces, while the metropolitan or peninsular could easily move between the highest echelons of power in Madrid and any place in the colonies (58). Read through this analogy, The Female American never gives us Unca as the irremediable Creole. Rather, almost like Pocahontas, she is made over as English, with the markers of her ethnicity only heightening her readability as "exotic" and thus enhancing her ability to circulate in the highest circles in England. The multiple crossings Unca makes back and forth across the Atlantic attest that her pilgrimages are not arrested or hindered. In fact, the only constraint on her movements, besides the one of being abandoned on the island, is a selfchosen one. In a final gesture, Unca closes off her island to all future pilgrimages from Europe and instead sends the narrative we are reading back to England for her family. Thus, her last transaction with Europe is a textual one and it is one of affiliation and separation at the same time--of identification with England as the recipient or addressee of her text, but also of disavowal with no promise of any further communication. In this ambivalent movement of identification and disavowal, the novel could be read as a representation of a "political unconscious," where the American as Creole resolves through the novel as a "socially symbolic act" the very contradiction that cannot be (yet) transcended in reality (to be English).(22) It resolves this inadequacy in the social by staging a "parallel" existence between the metropole and its numerous offshoots in the colonies. This parallelism soon leads to what Anderson has argued is a fantasy of surrogation: "of reversing the previous relationship of subjection by transferring the metropole from a European to an American site."(23) Read this way, the closing off to Europe at the end of the novel can also be read as

the "dream of replacing the old center."(24) Unca's island will be more of a New England than a radical break with the past and "home." Anderson's discussion complicates Davidson's sufficiently to make us rethink the markers of what creates the nationality of a given literary text, but it still does not preclude the critical energy (for Anderson) directed toward finding the correct affiliation. That is, it is still an attempt to determine nationality rather than to transcend nation as a projected aim of the narrative. For a discussion that moves us to that level of analysis, when "nation-ness" itself comes under a certain degree of erasure, we have to go to another classic discussion of the nation as narration: Homi Bhabha's introduction to, and concluding essay in, Nation and Narration.(25) Here, Bhabha argues that "the `locality' of national culture is never unified or unitary in relation to itself, nor must it be seen simply as `sother' in relation to what is outside or beyond it" (4). What the critic must aim for instead, says Bhabha, is turning this fracture at the heart of the nation--its "political antagonism" represented as moments of "incomplete signification" (Derrida's term), or "in-between spaces" (whether antinationalist or ambivalent nation-space)--into "cross-roads" for imagining a new transnational culture (4). According to Bhabha, the critic's task lies not in outlining the boundaries of national identity but in showing how that boundary may actually perform narrative cohesion even though it is contested by counternarrations that question its totalizing function to make all speak as "One." Because the nation is already a contested space, unsuccessfully trying to create an imagined community by giving itself an essentialist identity, the narrative of "the minority, the exilic, the marginal, and the emergent" will always turn the boundary into a "contentious internal liminality that provides [this subject] a place from which to speak both of and as" (300). Read through this deconstructive lens, The Female American, in its marginality as a woman's text, is neither completely British nor American but speaks the impossibility of being either fully. And in this incompleteness of belonging (as full citizen) the novel cuts across the national boundary (as marker for cohesion of meaning) in its contradictory move toward identification with male English figures (Crusoe) and female native American figures (Pocahontas). Though this is not the story of the minority as marginal (the native American) but rather of the woman as marginal, it sublates the former into the latter; but in doing so it also enacts the woman as alienated subject from the nation's task of self-generation. By locating herself on an unnamed island, without a founding father, Unca secedes from the possibility of citizenship and consolidates herself as the delegated lawgiver of the Christian God in a third space, unlocatable in the national histories of either England or the United States. One cannot merely conclude that this novel's ending is "unsettling" because it precedes the American Revolution and that it could not anticipate the national space to which it would normally belong. Rather, one is forced to acknowledge the possibility that it renders that nationalistic settlement of the transatlantic question irrelevant in its own ideological resolution. Whereas Bhabha's essay succeeds in unsettling nationalism as location into a lived "locality" that is a constant adding to but which does not add up to the "sociological solidity" bounded by a "naturalistic national horizon" Paul Gilroy's recent theorizations of Atlantic space have demonstrated precisely how a renarrativization of both colonial history and the space of postcolonial culture today, without recoding either as bounded national events, may open new understandings of how communities organize memory and knowledge differently.(26) In Small Acts, Gilroy shows how one needs to comprehend cultural movements and political resistances that have little regard for modern or premodern borders. He points out that these diasporic tendencies have historical power not only for the marginal exile whose critical

political project "[is] forged in the journey from the slaveship to citizenry" but also for those not forced into exile, but exiled from the national imaginings of both Britain and the United States.(27) This diasporic history is not necessarily of the sea but of those in-between spaces that also have a history of their own. In Female American we don't have the historical contradictions that led to the new communities-in-the-making, but we do have the internal division within the nation figured as "woman"; her unassimilated residue is also a figuration of "the fissures and fault lines in the topography of affiliation," and the outlining of these is an equally important task in the path towards post-national forms of knowledge production.(28) To draw this discussion to a finish, the last stop in my itinerary is a text that demonstrates the complex process of historical memory in contemporary literature, especially when the operative arena is that of postcolonial affiliations and the subject of memory is marked by both race and gender. Apportioning Pocahontas: A Postcolonial Epitaph
She stood and walked towards it--from a distance her training suspected allegory. Bronze. Female. Single figure. Single feather rising from the braids. Moccasined feet stepping forward, as if to walk off the pedestal on which she was kept. A personification of the New World, dedicated to some poor soul who perished in pursuit of it. --Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven

In No Telephone to Heaven Jamaican-American writer Michelle Cliff gives us Clare Savage, who leaves Jamaica and the United States for England, "choosing London with the logic of a creole."(29) There, she knits together her fragmented and uncertain origin (black-whiteJamaican-English-American) with the help of the ordered rigors of a classical education, where even Aristotle's Physics can provide appropriate mantras: "Each thing exists in place. Each thing is described by place" (117). Yet the novel offers this solution only as an unsatisfactory and provisional one. As a postcolonial writer who is conscious that an enduring legacy of colonialism is the displacement of identity experienced on various levels, Cliff does not want her readers to accept her protagonist's desire for order (premised on geographical location or proper origin). Such a return is always impossible, especially for those who have been the historical subjects of the old diasporas, constituted through slavery, bonded labor, genocide, or forced migration. Instead, in the novel, Cliff soon makes her heroine stumble upon a little churchyard in Gravesend, the town at the mouth of the Thames where England opens up to the Atlantic. Here, Clare Savage undergoes an epiphanic revisioning of her "place." As the epigraph above suggests, at a first glance Clare is not aware that the "conspicuous monument" belongs to the Amerindian princess Pocahontas. Her classical training reads the figure otherwise, not as the literal embodiment of Pocahontas but as the symbolic representation of the New World, referring instead to an English "poor soul" who perished there. In other words, Pocahontas is misread as a figure of displacement for the English overseas. As Clare moves closer to the monument, she realizes that it marks the grave of Pocahontas and is a gift from the Colonial Dames of America, built in 1958 in the "loving memory of their countrywornan" (136). Yet what Cliff shows next is that the attempt to read literally instead of figuratively is not of much use either: "The bronze woman [on the monument] gave nothing else away" Even the memorials in the church and the pamphlets available to visitors, like the transatlantic commemoration of the "countrywoman" for nationalist mythmaking, show only a series of appropriations of the proper name

"Pocahontas." As Cliff tells us, Clare "[f]ound two stained glass windows, one showing her baptism, full grown, wild, kneeling at the font. Found she had been tamed, renamed Rebecca. Found she had died on a ship leaving the rivermouth and the country, but close enough for England to claim her body" (136). The visit ends with Clare's profound dissatisfaction at this barrage of information. Cliff leaves her sitting in the cold church wondering whether "[s]omething was wrong. She had no sense of the woman under the weight of all these monuments. She thought of her, her youth, her color, her strangeness, her unbearable loneliness. Where was she now?" (137).(30) Pocahontas as historical agent or as the subject of what Peter Hulme calls an "exceptional crossing"(31) is rendered mute as she is parceled out in death between two national spaces: England gets her body while the United States gets the prerogative to remember her, staging in the postwar era of the twentieth century a bizarre reenactment of the fundamental transatlanticisms that congeal the historical memory of nation-making in the eighteenth century. In leaving the real Pocahontas undiscovered but faintly outlined through a series of erasures ("her youth, her color, her strangeness, her unbearable loneliness"), erasures that are needed to facilitate the identifications associated with her commemorative activity, Cliff suggests that Pocahontas exists, not as the two partitioned bits of body and memory lying encrypted in the national narratives of England and the United States, but in the multiple evocations of her as a series of transactions between different kinds of subjects. She is not only "English" and "American" but a larger conjuring of historical subjectivity; not only allegorical, but a figure whose historical memory is not adequate to the unilinear narratives of nationalist mythmaking and is constituted instead by what Joseph Roach has called "circumAtlantic performance," a concept that, as opposed to a transatlantic performance, "insists on the centrality of the diasporic and genocidal histories of Africa and the Americas, North and South, in the creation of modernity" In this sense, "a New World was not discovered in the Caribbean, but one was truly invented there."(32) In this essay, I have asked to what extent "woman" is even available as a space or "cavity" for surrogation for female subjects acting as agents in the history of colonialism. I tried to answer this question by looking primarily at a text from an earlier time, when the circum-Atlantic performance had not congealed into the transatlantic moment of negotiated nationality But the point has never been simply to insert this womanist narrative into a list of circum-Atlantic textual performances. Rather, it was to ask how and if female surrogation may indeed carve out a different trajectory for a historical subject and how such a trajectory might help us imagine a postcolonial Atlantic that does parcel out literary texts, bodies, practices, and historical events into the neatly-agreed on division of Pocahontas at Gravesend. Notes I wish to thank Carol Mason for her first reading, Terry Munisteri for the last, and the editorial board at Criticism for detailed suggestions and important criticisms at various stages. (1.) J. M. Coetzee, Foe (London: Penguin, 1986) and Michel Tournier, Friday or the Other Island, trans. Norman Denny ([1967] London: King Penguin, 1984). (2.) Derek Attridge's characterization of Crusoe as "western culture's most potent crystallization of its concern with the survival of the individual, the fundamentals of civilized life, and the dialectic of master and servant" may border on the hyperbolic, but it still conveys the sentiment behind its pedagogical use as a text that illustrates the compressed bedrock of

novelistic origins, individualism, European mastery, private property, colonization, Protestantism, bourgeois radicalism, and so on. See his "Oppressive Silence: J. M. Coetzee's Foe and the Politics of the Canon," in Decolonizing Tradition: New Twentieth Century British Literary Canons, ed. Karen Lawrence (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 216, 222. (3.) The Female American or The Extraordinary Adventures of Unca Eliza Winkfield, Compiled by Herself ([1767] Vergennes, Vt.: Jepthah Shedd, 1814). Further references to this edition will be cited as page numbers in the text. (4.) Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 3. (5.) Ibid., 2. (6.) Tremaine McDowell, "An American Robinson Crusoe," American Literature 3 (1929): 307-9. (7.) The narrative does not distinguish among the "Indians" or indicate to which tribe they belong. Even in her more detailed engagement with the natives on the island later in the novel, Unca makes no attempt to throw any geographical specificity on the site of the action. The natives themselves are, curiously enough, sun-worshippers with temple-like structures that evoke earlier communities of Central and South America rather than the Native Americans directly affected by British colonization in the northern part of the continent. Since the narrative cannot give us any hold on this generic category of "Indian," I have retained the novel's naming practices in my discussion. (8.) See Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and EmpireBuilding (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980), 46, 55. (9.) See Charles E. Hatch, Jr., The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624 ([1957] Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1972). (10.) See Homi Bhabha's discussion of the ambivalence of mimicry ("almost the same but not quite"), in "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse," in The Location of Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), 86. (11.) See Peter Hulme, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492-1797 (London and New York: Methuen, 1986), for a discussion of the Pocahontas tale and a historical reading of its imbrication in relations of reciprocity between the Algonquins and the settlers. See 141, 147, and 170 for the "recapture" of Pocahontas through colonial romance and Christianity. (12.) See Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1999), 116-17, for a discussion of female individualism as soul-making that writes the imperialist project as "civil-society-through-social mission." (13.) For variations on the orality/literacy discussion see Michael Warner's The Letters of the Republic: Publication in the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America (Cambridge and

London: Harvard University Press, 1990). More relevant in terms of historical conjunction may be discussions such as Carol Edkins, "Quest for Community: Spiritual Autobiographies of Eighteenth-Century Quaker and Puritan Women in America," in Women's Autobiography: Essays in Criticism, ed. Estelle C. Jelinek (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980). A more recent discussion of oratory as political power is Jay Fliegelman's Declaring Independence: Jefferson, Natural Language, and the Culture of Performance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993). For the argument that conditions of low literacy coupled with access to publicity through the church ("pulpit envy") might act as appropriate openings for the female subject, see Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 107. Here, Douglas also makes the point that the threat to the male clerical establishment is not only at the institutional level but at the level of a national imaginary. (14.) See Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse, The Imaginary Puritan: Literature, Intellectual Labor and the Origins of Personal Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 202, 264, for "ventriloquism" not as men writing through female figures (Clarissa as Richardson's mouthpiece would be an excellent example) but as the power of the female figure to command herself as the source of the narrative: "It]he hero of eighteenth-century fiction is usually and most powerfully a heroine ... the bourgeois subject began not only as a female subject but also as writing subject." In American, contrary to this use of voice as metaphor for female "writing," Unca is demonstrating the power of orality not literacy. (15.) A classic example of a text that narrativizes some of the historical events alluded to in The Female American as the workings of Providence is Increase Mather's A Relation of the Troubles Which Have Happened in New-England, By Reason of the Indians There ([1677] New York: Arno Press, 1972), which he characterizes as a "Compleat Memorial" to God's timely battles against the heathens and their tyranny, "whereby the whole English Interest (yea the Interest of Christ who had ere that taken possession of this land and gloriously began to erect his own kingdom here) was threatened and endangered" (24). For a history of British justifications of colonization as missionary activity and the actual failure of this attempt at originary founding of a native nation under the Christian God, see William Kellaway, The New England Company, 1649-1776: Missionary Society to the American Indians ([1961] Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1975). Read in this context, Unca's narrative reads as successful founding in the wake of this historical failure. (16.) Kellaway, New England Company, 14-15 (17.) Ibid., 86-87, 276; see also Gordon M. Sayre, Les Sauvages Americains: Representations of Native Americans in French and English Colonial Literature (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 17-18. (18.) Daniel Gookin, An Historical Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians in New England, in the Years 1675, 1676, 1677 ([1836] New York: Arno Press, 1972). (19.) Gookin is referring to King Philip's War, which erupted on June 20, 1675. Perhaps the bloodiest of all conflicts between the settlers and the native population, it cleared the Wampanoag, Narragansett, Nipmuc, and other southern New England native populations from the land. The enduring legacy of this war, where natives were slaughtered, sold into slavery, or placed in widely scattered communities, lay in its role as what Schultz and Tougia have called a "brutal model for how the United States would come to deal with its native

population." See Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougia, King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict (Woodstock, Vt.: Countrymen Press, 1999), 1-2. (20.) Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986). (21.) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism ([1983] London and New York: Verso, 1991). (22.) See Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981). (23.) Anderson, Imagined Communities, 191. (24.) Ibid. (25.) Homi K. Bhabha, ed., Nation and Narration (London and New York: Routledge, 1990). (26.) Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), 304-5. (27.) Paul Gilroy, Small Acts: Thoughts on the Politics of Black Cultures (London: Serpent's Tail, 1993), 122. (28.) Ibid., 131. (29.) Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven ([1987] New York: Penguin, 1996). All further citations are to this edition and will be given parenthetically in the text. (30.) Pocahontas is only one in a series of female figures that Cliff stages within the novel in order to provide Clare with a mirror to perform her self-fashioning. Elsewhere in the novel, Cliff summons Jane Eyre's dark double, Bertha, a figure who facilitates an epiphanic moment of reading for Clare. (31.) Hulme, Colonial Encounters, 142-43. (32.) Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead, 4.