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Beyond WindrushRethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature$
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J. Dillon Brown and Leah Reade Rosenberg

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628464757

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628464757.001.0001

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John Hearne: Beyond the Plantation

John Hearne: Beyond the Plantation

(p.158) John Hearne: Beyond the Plantation
Beyond Windrush

Kim Robinson-Walcott

University Press of Mississippi

In the 1960s, George Lamming and Sylvia Wynter dismissed the highly successful novelist John Hearne. His work, they argued, was weakened by its nostalgic focus on the “plantocracy.” Their assessment shaped scholarly opinion until the present. This chapter argues that the anti-colonial nationalism of the 1960s obscured Hearne’s import. Hearne’s novels, it argues, are significant precisely because they portray the near-white/brown middle-class which acted historically as intermediaries between the “white” elite and the black masses. Its members–such as Alexander Bustamante, Norman and Michael Manley, and Edward Seaga—led the country into independence and shaped its modern politics. In fact Hearne is one of the few writers to illuminate the complex motivations of this powerful group. Thus, rather than looking backwards, this chapter argues, Hearne’s novels are prophetic, anticipating the radicalization, political disillusionment, and ultimate disengagement of Jamaica’s elite and middle classes since independence.

Keywords:   John Hearne, Nostalgia, Planter class, Brown-skinned middle class, Norman Manley

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