Product no.: HP215

Frank Birbalsingh

West Indian History and Literature offers a fresh view by West Indian authors themselves of a region known mainly for delights of its sun, sand and sea. The book not only examines problems of division in racial, ethnic, class and colour relations in the Anglophone Caribbean, it also reveals regional resources of imagination and creativity that have already produced, in Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul, two Nobel laureates in literature.

While the volume recalls rare, perhaps forgotten texts by authors such as Eric Walrond (Tropic Death), Claude McKay (Home to Harlem) and memoirs by Joyce Gladwell (Brown Face Big Master), Lorna Goodison (From Harvey River) and Rachel Manley (Horses in her Hair), most chapters delve into works, mainly of fiction or poetry, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day; and although, as elsewhere, women writers appeared long after male authors in the Caribbean, of eighty-one authors considered in the volume, twenty-nine are women.

“In this sparkling collection, Frank Birbalsingh introduces us to an astonishing range of new work in the history and literature of the English-speaking Caribbean. What arises is a work of art in its own right. Much as Dr Johnson and Macaulay respectively gave their readers a way of comprehending the intellectual life of eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain, as a whole, so Birbalsingh allows us to see and measure the imaginative life of the Caribbean region and its diaspora up to the early twenty-first century.”  Richard Drayton is Rhodes Professor of Imperial History, King’s College, London University

“In many ways, West Indian History and Literature is a report from the trenches of a lifetime of scholarship and commentary which showcases Birbalsingh’s critical acumen as an insightful and deeply informed reviewer who lucidly and intelligently situates texts within their contexts, traverses various genres, and effectively illuminates what George Lamming refers to as ‘the sad and hopeful epic of West Indian history.’”  Norval Edwards is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

  • 216 x 138 mm
  • 404 pages
  • Paperback

Frank Birbalsingh is Emeritus Professor of English at York University in Toronto, Canada. His books include Passion and Exile: Essays in Caribbean Literature (Hansib, 1988); Frontiers of Caribbean Literature in English (1995); The People’s Progressive Party of Guyana: An Oral History (Hansib, 2007), Guyana: History and Literature (Hansib, 2016). He is also author of The Rise of West Indian Cricket: From Colony to Nation (Hansib, 1996) and Indian-Caribbean Test Cricketers and the Quest for Identity (Hansib, 2016).

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