Beyond WindrushRethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Beyond WindrushRethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature

J. Dillon Brown and Leah Reade Rosenberg

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9781628464757

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

The first book to critically redefine and reexamine West Indian literature of the 1950s, Beyond Windrush challenges the myth that an elite cohort of male novelists based in postwar London single-handedly produced Anglophone Caribbean literature and broadens our understanding of Caribbean and Black British literary history. Writers of this cohort, often reduced to George Lamming, V.S. Naipaul, and Sam Sevlon, are referred to “the Windrush writers,” in tribute to the S.S. Empire Windrush, whose 1948 voyage from Jamaica inaugurated the large-scale Caribbean migration to London. They have been properly celebrated for producing a complex, anti-colonial, nationalist literary tradition, but, as this collection demonstrates, their uncritical canonization has obscured the diversity of postwar Caribbean writers and produced a narrow definition of West Indian literature. The fourteen original essays in this collection here make clear that already in the 1950s a wide spectrum of West Indian men and women—Afro-Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean and white-creole—were writing, publishing (and even painting)—and that many were in the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States, rather than London. Moreover, they addressed subjects omitted from the masculinist canon, such as queer sexuality and the environment. The collection offers new readings of canonical authors (Lamming, Roger Mais, and Andrew Salkey); hitherto marginalized authors (such as Ismith Khan, Elma Napier, and John Hearne); commonly ignored genres (such as the memoir, short stories, and journalism); as well as alternative units of cultural and political unity, such as the Pan-Caribbean as well as potentially trans-hemispheric, trans-island conceptions of political identity.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Looking Beyond Windrush

J. Dillon Brown and Leah Reade Rosenberg

Part One Negotiating National Belonging

Part Two Genre and Gender

Part Three The Politics of Literary Production and Reception

John Hearne: Beyond the Plantation

Kim Robinson-Walcott

Part Four Alternate Geographies

End Matter