C. L. R. James: visions of history, visions of Britain

Stephen Howe

in West Indian Intellectuals in Britain

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780719064746
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700426 | DOI:
C. L. R. James: visions of history, visions of Britain

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This chapter reconstructs the more fragmentary but important things C. L. R. James did say about Britain, Britishness and their relations to Caribbean histories and identities. The nature of James' writings means that discussion of their influence in Britain must explore not only a ‘bilateral’ British-Caribbean relationship, but a triangular one. He insisted that the Britishness was part of a rich, complex, internationally open and distinctively modern cultural mix. His views on the character of racism in Britain were distinctive. In addition, his views of British colonialism were built around a stark contrast between imperial Britain and what he thought of as the truer, better values of Britishness ‘at home’. In his most influential works, James set out to assail and demolish views of Britain's history which he regarded as myths.

Keywords: C. L. R. James; Britishness; Britain; Caribbean histories; racism; British colonialism

Chapter.  10559 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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