After the publication of our 13th edition of Studies in the Fantastic, our intern Krystal Conley interviewed Dr. Suzanne Lynch regarding her essay on Annie Palmer, also known as “The White Witch of Rosehall,” a figure of Jamaican folklore later featured in a novel by Herbert G. de Lisser.
Dr. Suzanne Lynch writes about the in-betweenness of Annie Palmer, as she has easy access between the living and non-living and between black and white societies. Lynch analyzes both the theory of abjection and the topic of race mixing to further explore the character of Annie Palmer. Krystal wanted to know what inspired Dr. Lynch to write on Palmer.
Krystal Conley: What inspired you to write this piece?
Suzanne Lynch: I have been thinking about working with this text for a long time. The theme of race in Jamaica is something I know intimately, and because I’m a Jamaican, for me, there was a natural gravitational pull to revive and participate in a discussion of what I believe is a very significant Jamaican text.
KC: When did you start making the connections between the character Annie Palmer and in-betweenness?
SL: The moment I read this text the issue of in-betweeness was quite clear to me. Maybe it’s because Jamaica is a land of so much in betweenness, and maybe it is because there is so much classism associated with racial mixture, or the lack thereof, in Jamaica. Maybe it is my own mixed race bi-cultural heritage that leads me to this examination of DeLisser’s text. Whatever the reason, the connection between this in-betweenness and Annie Palmer was immediate and intuitive for me.
KC: What was the most difficult part of writing the article?
SL: There has not been very much written about this piece, despite its popularity in Jamaica; and what has been written about the text, all seemed to follow the same line of reasoning. This lack of robust discussion about the text did not necessarily make the writing difficult, but it did limit how I engaged with other scholars.
KC: What are other aspects of the topic that you hope future scholars will investigate?
SL: We all come to these texts with our own agendas and our own strengths and interests, so I will leave it up to scholars to decide where they want to take this text, and I look forward to seeing what comes from the interest of others.
To read Dr. Suzanne Lynch’s essay on the White Witch of Rosehall, you can purchase her article here.