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Open Access (free)
Mary Chamberlain

It was a chance encounter, the Trinidadian, Sam Selvon and the Barbadian, George Lamming, on the boat from Trinidad to Britain. Two young, unknown writers, indistinguishable (as George Lamming recalled) from all the other ‘ordinary’ young men and women immigrating to Britain at that time, all coming ‘to look for a better break… in search of an expectation’. 1 When

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Editor: Bill Schwarz

Caribbean migration to Britain brought many new things—new music, new foods, new styles. It brought new ways of thinking too. This book explores the intellectual ideas that the West Indians brought with them to Britain. It shows that, for more than a century, West Indians living in Britain developed a dazzling intellectual critique of the codes of Imperial Britain. Chapters discuss the influence of, amongst others, C. L. R. James, Una Marson, George Lamming, Jean Rhys, Claude McKay and V. S. Naipaul. The contributors draw from many different disciplines to bring alive the thought and personalities of the figures they discuss, providing a picture of intellectual developments in Britain from which we can still learn much. The introduction argues that the recovery of this Caribbean past, on the home territory of Britain itself, reveals much about the prospects of multiracial Britain.

Open Access (free)
The predicament of history
Bill Schwarz

négritude are significant in this respect. So too, as Mary Chamberlain establishes, was George Lamming’s entry in the middle 1950s into the Parisian intellectual milieu which brought together Sartrean phenomenology and négritude – from which so much contemporary thinking on ‘the fact of blackness’ has subsequently derived. Insofar as French philosophy touched the intellectual culture of the British in

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
The BBC’s Caribbean Voices
Glyne Griffith

/periphery relationship: the relationship between London and the Caribbean. 22 Swanzy was quick to employ readers on the programme such as Sam Selvon from Trinidad, Pauline Henriques from Jamaica, George Lamming from Barbados, and other London-based, Caribbean writers and artists. Indeed, his critical sense of the uniqueness of an emergent Caribbean

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Open Access (free)
Crossing the seas
Bill Schwarz

dislocations and make speakable the unspeakable. Samuel Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners marks the comprehensive inauguration of this sub-genre of the West Indian novel, and in so doing, invented a new diasporic realism. 29 ‘Poetry’, according to George Lamming, ‘is a way of listening.’ 30 The West Indian emigrants who travelled to the metropole – familiar strangers, simultaneously

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Open Access (free)
West Indian intellectual
Helen Carr

, a hyphenated sense, the African-Caribbean’s home. ‘The Caribbean’, George Lamming suggests, ‘may be defined as the continuum of a journey in space and consciousness.’ 22 Or as Stuart Hall has pointed out, ‘The Caribbean is already the diaspora of Africa, Europe, China, Asia, India, and this diaspora re-diasporized itself [in Britain]’. 23 And as he reflects on his own migration: ‘I am

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Louis James

Lamming in The Pleasures of Exile had called the ‘phenomenon’ of postwar Caribbean literature in English 7 was well under way. Samuel Selvon’s A Brighter Sun (1952), George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin (1953), Wilson Harris’s Palace of the Peacock (1960), V. S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas (1960) and Derek Walcott

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Open Access (free)
Feminism, anti-colonialism and a forgotten fight for freedom
Alison Donnell

as Roger Mais and Victor Stafford Reid. We might also think of the BBC’s Caribbean Voices which provided a much needed outlet, as well as a valuable source of income, for new writers and writings, and also, of course, of the talented community of male writers and intellectuals, such as George Lamming, Sam Selvon and V. S. Naipaul, who had come to London in the 1950s. Yet what is so commonly neglected in

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Open Access (free)
Bill Schwarz

hostility to the West Indians. 57 Padmore himself was dogged by illness, and – toward the end – by political frustration. He contemplated returning to the West Indies. 58 In September 1959, mortally ill, he returned to London for medical attention. He died the same month. Padmore is now a forgotten figure. A handful of West Indians – George Lamming, John La Rose amongst them – strive to pay him public

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Open Access (free)
Visions of history, visions of Britain
Stephen Howe

, while a section of the old white plantocracy remained francophone. Trinidad could have been, and nearly was, as polyglot as George Lamming’s San Cristobel. It required conscious decisions, acts of will – on the part of both colonisers and colonised – for a British-model educational system and cultural ethos to take root there. The island’s multilingual heritage obviously helped enable James’s later

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain