Proletarian or revolutionary literature: C.L.R. James and the politics of the Trinidadian Renaissance

Spring 1990

Carby asks how best we might approach the question of ‘world literature’ in a world in which some cultures have much more power than others, looking at C.L.R. James’ works, both on cricket in Beyond the Boundary and on race in his novel Minty Alley and in short stories published in the periodicals The Trinidad and The Beacon. Carby takes in Trotsky’s ideas about proletarian culture and Katerina Clark’s work on literature in the Soviet Union to look at the writing of the Caribbean, as well as asking, for example, what impact the ‘Harlem renaissance’ in New York had on black writers internationally. Short stories by James and his friend Alfred Mendes, originally published in The Trinidad and The Beacon are read in this context.

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