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Migration as Escape: In the Castle of My Skin, Miguel Street, A Brighter Sun

  • Malachi McIntosh
Part of the New Caribbean Studies book series (NCARS)

Abstract

George Lamming, V. S. Naipaul, and Samuel Selvon have long had the putative truth of their first works held up as the chief criterion of their value. From the words of their early readers, who saw in these authors’ works direct reflections of Caribbean realities, to the studies of recent scholars, who have praised the same works’ insights into Caribbean lives, the authors’ placement as privileged intellectuals based abroad, at a time when “home” and “abroad” were developing differently, has often been underplayed. As a result, Lamming’s asserted kinship with Caribbean laborers has been noted as problematic by critics but often left to lie in pursuit of other aspects of his representations; Naipaul’s perspective has been continually questioned due to his apparently happy identification with Britain’s literary elite, while his links with his peers have gone underexplored; and Selvon has been seen almost solely as a documentarian, with little in his works besides presentations of what was. In her recent book Publishing the Postcolonial, Gail Low claims that while “[t]he content of the Anglophone Caribbean writers[‘] [works] was distinctive, aesthetically innovative and—significantly—also anti-colonial,” the works and their authors were never quite as unlike their British literary peers as it is usually assumed: “their connections with a London literary elite, their commitment to literary excellence, and their modernist outlook made them seem different but, crucially, not too different, and helped pave the way for their championing by the men of letters in London.”1

Keywords

Head Teacher Narrative Mode Island Resident Book Knowledge Burned Cane 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Gail Low, Publishing the Postcolonial: Anglophone West African and Caribbean Writing in the UK 1948–1968 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 106.Google Scholar
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    All references to the novel are taken from George Lamming, In the Castle of My Skin (London: Longman, 2004), and are cited in parentheses in the text.Google Scholar
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    Sandra Pouchet Paquet, Caribbean Autobiography: Cultural Identity and Self-Representation (London: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), p. 114.Google Scholar
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    George Lamming, “In the Castle of My Skin: Thirty Years After,” in Conversations, George Lamming: Essays, Addresses and Interviews 1953–1990, ed. Richard Drayton and Andaiye (London: Karia Press, 1992), pp. 46–56 (p. 47).Google Scholar
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© Malachi McIntosh 2015

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  • Malachi McIntosh

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