Beyond Windrush

Edited by J. Dillon Brown and Leah Reade Rosenberg

Published by University Press of Mississippi

Published in print July 2015 | ISBN: 9781628464757
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9781628464801 | DOI:
Beyond Windrush

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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.

Keywords: Anglophone Caribbean literature; Windrush; Black British literature; Indo-Caribbean writing; Canonization

Book.  234 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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