Caryl Phillips: Higher Ground (2517 words)

Caryl Phillips’s third novel takes its name from a gospel song called “Higher Ground”, written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. in 1898. The lyrics of the song, a cry for physical and emotional strength, invoke a sense of community of all innocent victims exposed to violence beyond comprehension. In his review of the novel in World Literature Today, Charles Sarvan suggests that the stories that make up Higher Ground are “unified by [the] theme of individual lives damaged, if not destroyed by cruel, man-made waters” (518). Along the same line, Charles Johnson acknowledges Phillips’s cosmopolitan approach to the “exploration of oppression in both the public and private realms”, yet …

Stefanova, Svetlana. "Higher Ground". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 December 2016
[, accessed 23 March 2018.]

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