Valérie Loichot, Associate Professor of French and English at Emory University; core member of Comparative Literature; Director of Graduate Studies, (Ph.D. in French, Louisiana State University, 1996). Francophone studies; Caribbean literature and culture; literature of the Americas; postcolonial theory. Author of Orphan Narratives: The Postplantation Literatures of Faulkner, Glissant, Morrison, and Saint-John Perse (University of Virginia Press, 2007) and The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). She also directed a special issue of La Revue des Sciences humaines in honor of her former mentor Édouard Glissant (Entours d’Édouard Glissant, Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2013). In addition, Loichot has authored numerous articles on Caribbean literature and culture, Southern literature, creolization theory, transatlantic studies, feminism and exile, and food studies published in journals including Callaloo, Études francophones, French Cultural Studies, The French Review, The International Journal of Francophone Studies, Mississippi Quarterly, and Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism. She is now at work on her third book entitled Caribbean Creolization in the United States: from Lafcadio Hearn to Barack Obama. Professor Loichot was a Visiting Professor at the Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III in 2011.

Valérie Loichot, The Tropics Bite Back


The surprising relationships between food and starvation and the practice of literary cannibalism


The Tropics Bite Back

Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature

Valérie Loichot

University of Minnesota Press | 288 pages | 2013

ISBN 978-0-8166-7984-3  |  paperback  | $17.50  (reg. price: $25.00)

ISBN 978-0-8166-7983-6  |  cloth  |  $52.50  (reg. price: $75.00)


The ubiquitous presence of food and hunger in Caribbean writing—from folktales, fiction, and poetry to political and historical treatises—signals the traumas that have marked the Caribbean from the Middle Passage to the present day. The Tropics Bite Back traces the evolution of the Caribbean response to the colonial gaze (or rather the colonial mouth) from the late nineteenth century to the twenty-first. Unlike previous scholars, Valérie Loichot does not read food simply as a cultural trope. Instead, she is interested in literary cannibalism, which she interprets in parallel with theories of relation and creolization.

For Loichot, “the culinary” is an abstract mode of resistance and cultural production. The Francophone and Anglophone authors whose works she interrogates—including Patrick Chamoiseau, Suzanne Césaire, Aimé Césaire, Maryse Condé, Edwidge Danticat, Édouard Glissant, Lafcadio Hearn, and Dany Laferrière—“bite back” at the controlling images of the cannibal, the starved and starving, the cunning cook, and the sexualized octoroon with the ultimate goal of constructing humanity through structural, literal, or allegorical acts of ingesting, cooking, and eating.

The Tropics Bite Back employs cross-disciplinary methods to rethink notions of race and literary influence by providing a fresh perspective on forms of consumption both metaphorical and material.

The Tropics Bite Back is a brilliant and highly original work of scholarship from one of the outstanding voices in contemporary Francophone studies. Valérie Loichot identifies cannibalism as the master trope of Antillean Literature, and goes on in this mature and insightful book to explore and analyze its various manifestations in a series of penetrating and novel readings. Exciting and profound, the book is both engaged and engaging.”

—Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University


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