The Institute of Caribbean Studies, of the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, invites the academic community and the general public to the lecture “C.L.R. James: Pioneer of Modern Caribbean Writing,” by Dr. Reinhard Sander, English Department, UPR-RP. Dr. Nelson Maldonado Torres, Program of Comparative Literature, Rutgers University, will comment the lecture. The activity will be held on Thursday, November 17, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in CRA 108 of Carmen Rivera de Alvarado Building, Faculty of the Social Sciences, UPR-RP. In the 1920s and early 1930s C.L.R. James, one of the most important progressive thinkers of the Caribbean, was part of a multiracial group of young Trinidadian intellectuals, among them budding writers such as Alfred H. Mendes and Ralph de Boissière as well as Trinidad’s future first Chief Minister, Albert Gomes. In the best short fiction published in the Beacon group’s magazines, Trinidad (1929-30) and The Beacon (1931-33, 1939), the mostly middle-class writers discovered the vitality of lower-class life and culture in Trinidad’s barrack-yards as their subject matter. Both C.L.R. James’s short story “Triumph” and his novel Minty Alley (1936) explore lower-class life in the barrack-yards and are the direct ancestors of modern Caribbean fiction of the 1950s and 1960s by such writers as Roger Mais, Sam Selvon, George Lamming, and the early V.S. Naipaul. James’s play The Black Jacobins (1936) provides an interesting transition from his early creative writing to his later historical work (The Black Jacobins, 1938) as well as to his later socio-political and theoretical work.
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