C. L. R. James′s Caribbean

C. L. R. James′s Caribbean

Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: Published: June 1992

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Caribbean Studies, Cultural Studies

For more than half a century, C. L. R. James (1901–1989)—"the Black Plato," as coined by the London Times—has been an internationally renowned revolutionary thinker, writer, and activist. Born in Trinidad, his lifelong work was devoted to understanding and transforming race and class exploitation in his native West Indies, as well as in Britain and the United States. In C. L. R. James's Caribbean, noted scholars examine the roots of both James's life and oeuvre in connection with the economic, social, and political environment of the West Indies.

Drawing upon James's observations of his own life as revealed to interviewers and close friends, this volume provides an examination of James's childhood and early years as colonial literatteur and his massive contribution to West Indian political-cultural understanding. Moving beyond previous biographical interpretations, the contributors here take up the problem of reading James's texts in light of poststructuralist criticism, the implications of his texts for Marxist discourse, and for problems of Caribbean development.


“The essays, interviews, and threee James letters found in this volume constitute a lasting tribute to the radical thinker and writer that James was, for the world but especially for his native Caribbean. . . .This volume reaffirms James’s place among the most influential anti-colonial thinker of our time. The focus and caliber of the entire volume, moreover, are cause for celebration.” — Teresita Martinez Vergne, Hispanic American Historical Review

"These penetrating studies throw much-needed light both on C. L. R. James and the Caribbean worlds about which he cared so much. . . . Required reading for all who would like to understand James's varied work." — David Barry Gaspar, author of Bondmen and Rebels

"This volume is a provocative and powerful introduction to the political and literary writings of C. L. R. James, one of the twentieth century's greatest intellectuals of the left. This creative collection explores new dimensions of James's thought and is essential reading for those interested in the black intellectual tradition of the Caribbean in literature, politics, and history." — Manning Marable, University of Colorado at Boulder


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Paget Henry, a native of Antigua, is Associate Professor of Sociology and Afro-American Studies at Brown University. His books include Peripheral Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Antigua.

Paul Buhle is the author of C. L. R. James: His Life and Work.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface vii

Part I. Portraits and Self-Portraits

1. C. L. R. James: A Portrait / Stuart Hall 3

2. C. L. R. James on the Caribbean: Three Letters / C. L. R. James 17

3. C. L. R. James: West Indian / George Lamming interviewed by Paul Buhle 28

Part II. The Early Trinidadian Years

4. The Audacity of It All: C. L. R. James's Trinidadian Background / Selwyn Cudjoe 39

5. The Making of a Literary Life / C. L. R. James interviewed by Paul Buhle 56

Part III. Textual Explorations

6. Beyond the Categories of the Master Conception: The Counterdoctrine of the Jamesian Poiesis / Sylvia Wynter 63

7. Cricket and National Culture in the Writings of C. L. R. James / Neil Lazarus 92

8. Caliban as Deconstructionist: C. L. R. James and Post-Colonial Discourse / Paget Henry and Paul Buhle 111

Part IV. Praxis

9. C. L. R. James and the Caribbean Economic Tradition / Paget Henry 145

10. C. L. R. James and Trinidadian Nationalism / Walton Look Lai 174

11. The Question of the Canon: C. L. R. James and Modern Politics / Kent Worcester 210

12. C. L. R. James and the Antiguan Left / Paget Henry 225

Appendix: Excerpts from The Life of Captain Cipriani 263

Chronology 271

Glossary 274

Index 278
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Rights and licensing

Winner, 1994 Choice Outstanding Academic Books

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1244-4
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