C.L.R. James: His Intellectual Legacies

Univ of Massachusetts Press
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C.L.R. James (1901-1989) made important contributions in a host of fields--literature, criticism, cultural studies, political theory, history, and philosophy. One of the most astute minds of this century, he served as mentor for two generations of international intellectuals. He contributed enormously to their understanding of the colonial question, the Negro question, the Russian question, the role of dialectics in proletarian struggle, and the theory and practice of Marxism in the Americas. In addition to The Black Jacobins, his incisive account of the Haitian revolution of the 1790s, and Notes on Dialectics, James published a range of other books, including a classic work on the game of cricket and a study of Herman Melville.

This collection of essays offers a variety of fresh perspectives on James's life and writings. Included are reminiscences of those who knew James well and critical essays by eminent scholars. The book is the first to offer a full treatment of James's many contributions to twentieth-century intellectual life.

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About the author

Selwyn R. Cudjoe is professor of Africana studies at Wellesley College. He is author of V. S. Naipaul: A Materialist Reading and editor of Caribbean Women Writers and Eric E. Williams Speaks. Professor of English at Wellesley College, William E. Cain is author of The Crisis in Criticism and F. O. Matthiessen and the Politics of Criticism.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of Massachusetts Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1995
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Pages
476
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ISBN
9780870239076
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural Heritage
Literary Criticism / American / General
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Eleven-year-old Cupcake Brown woke up on the bicentennial and found her mother still in bed. She struggled to wake her up, pushing and pulling until she managed to tug her mother's lifeless corpse onto her own small body, crushing her beneath its dead weight. After squeezing out from under her mother, Cupcake calmly walked over to the phone and called her aunt Lori. "Lori, my momma's dead."

Here is the threshold of a hell for young Cupcake. Rather than being allowed to live with the man she believed to be her father--who turns out to have been her stepfather--she is forced into a foster home where the kids were terrorized, the refrigerator padlocked, and Cupcake sexually abused. She eventually fled the house, only to find herself wandering from misadventure to misadventure in the "system," while also developing a massive appetite for drugs and alcohol, an appetite she paid for by turning tricks. She settled down in Los Angeles and found a home in the Crips, where she was taken in and befriended by gangsters like the legendary "Monster" Kody Scott. For the first time she found a family, but when Cupcake was blasted in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun, she was once more taken in by the system.

At 16, her stepfather reeneters her life and engineers an "emancipation," in which the courts declare her an adult and free her, finally, from the child welfare system. Cup takes advantage of her new freedom to start a drug-dealing operation with her stepfather, who also manages a stable of colorful prostitutes. Soon she meets a man, falls in love, and gets married. He convinces her to get a real job and learn to speak proper English--but he also abuses her and introduces her to crack cocaine. Cupcake flits from job to job, miraculously, given that she never fails to show up without some cocktail of narcotics floating in her system.

She hits rock bottom when, in desperation, she steals crack from her drug dealer. He beats her nearly to death, rapes her, and then leaves her body behind a dumpster. Cupcake wakes up days later, not sure of how she ended up in this state and from that moment begins to turn her life around. She was adopted by a lawyer who ran the law firm where she "worked," and slowly he assisted her in kicking the habit--with the help of an eccentric group of fellow addicts who became, at last, a family to her--and catching up on her education. With the support of her new family, she eventurally goes all the way to law school (although not without a few additional misadventures along the way) and joins one of the top law firms in the country.

Cupcake's story is an inspiring, at times hilarious, often distrubing, and deeply moving account of a singular woman who took on the worst of contemporary urban life and survived it with wit and a ferocious will. It updates classic memoirs like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Makes Me Wanna Holler, and gives a bold and gritty spin to contemporary memoirs like Finding Fish. At the center of it, Cupcake is a charming and inspiring narrator through the inferno of her life.


From the Compact Disc edition.
When V. S. Naipaul received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, the award marked the culmination of a literary tradition that was almost two hundred years in the making. The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has produced such important writers and thinkers as C. L. R. James, J. J. Thomas, Eric Williams, Oliver Cromwell Cox, Sylvester Williams, George Padmore, Earl Lovelace, Arnold Rampersad, and Merle Hodge. Yet this literary legacy is not well known, particularly with respect to works dating from the nineteenth century.

Beyond Boundaries traces the development of the country's literary and intellectual history from the "Narrative of Louisa Calderon" (1803) to Stephen Cobham's Rupert Gray: A Tale of Black and White (1907). Selwyn R. Cudjoe examines a wide range of narratives by and about the people of Trinidad and Tobago, from treatises in the natural sciences, to journals and memoirs, histories, slave narratives, travelers' accounts, poems, stories, novels, theatrical works, and writings in the popular press. Along the way, he discusses such seminal works as Jean Baptiste Philippe's Free Mulatto (1824) and Maxwell Philip's Emmanuel Appadocca (1854), the first indigenous novel. He explores books that shed light on ideological processes, such as J. J. Thomas's The Theory and Practice of Creole Grammar (1869) and Froudacity (1899). He examines how notions of savagery and civilization were deployed in the writings of the dominant class to stymie the growing self-awareness of the colonized. And he traces the rise of racial pride and nationalist sentiments among Indo- and Afro-Trinidadians.

Cudjoe demonstrates how Enlightenment concepts, English literature, African philosophy, Hindu theology, Islamic passion plays, and the culture of carnival all contributed to this body of ideas to create a vibrant literature, which in turn helped to shape a national identity.

When V. S. Naipaul received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, the award marked the culmination of a literary tradition that was almost two hundred years in the making. The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has produced such important writers and thinkers as C. L. R. James, J. J. Thomas, Eric Williams, Oliver Cromwell Cox, Sylvester Williams, George Padmore, Earl Lovelace, Arnold Rampersad, and Merle Hodge. Yet this literary legacy is not well known, particularly with respect to works dating from the nineteenth century.

Beyond Boundaries traces the development of the country's literary and intellectual history from the "Narrative of Louisa Calderon" (1803) to Stephen Cobham's Rupert Gray: A Tale of Black and White (1907). Selwyn R. Cudjoe examines a wide range of narratives by and about the people of Trinidad and Tobago, from treatises in the natural sciences, to journals and memoirs, histories, slave narratives, travelers' accounts, poems, stories, novels, theatrical works, and writings in the popular press. Along the way, he discusses such seminal works as Jean Baptiste Philippe's Free Mulatto (1824) and Maxwell Philip's Emmanuel Appadocca (1854), the first indigenous novel. He explores books that shed light on ideological processes, such as J. J. Thomas's The Theory and Practice of Creole Grammar (1869) and Froudacity (1899). He examines how notions of savagery and civilization were deployed in the writings of the dominant class to stymie the growing self-awareness of the colonized. And he traces the rise of racial pride and nationalist sentiments among Indo- and Afro-Trinidadians.

Cudjoe demonstrates how Enlightenment concepts, English literature, African philosophy, Hindu theology, Islamic passion plays, and the culture of carnival all contributed to this body of ideas to create a vibrant literature, which in turn helped to shape a national identity.

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