CARIBBEAN REASONINGS: THE GEORGE LAMMING READER
Like Kamau Brathwaite, George Lamming has used the themes of exile and return in his search of the black West Indian identity. That mischievous gift, the sugar cane, is introduced, and a fantastic human migration moves to the New World of the Caribbean; deported crooks and criminals, defeated soldiers and Royalist gentlemen fleeing from Europe, slaves from the West Coast of Africa, East Indians, Chinese, Corsicans, and Portuguese. The list is always incomplete, but they all move and meet on an unfamiliar soil, in an unpredictable and infinite range of custom and endeavour, people in the most haphazard combinations, surrounded by memories of splendour and misery, the sad and dying kingdom of Sugar, a future full of promises.
And always the sea! His mother was unmarried, but after she married, Lamming grew up partly in his native village and in St David's Village, where his stepfather worked. Encouraged by his teacher, Frank Collymore, Lamming found the world of books and started to write. Before moving to England, he worked from to as a teacher at El Colegio de Venezuela, a boarding-school for boys in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
His writings were published in the Barbadian magazine Bim, edited by his teacher Frank Collymore, and the BBC's "Caribbean Voices" series broadcast his poems and short prose. In London Lamming worked briefly in a factory and also as a freelance writer.
In England Lamming had the opportunity to meet fellow Commonwealth citizens, and he become very aware of Africa. Its introduction was written by the American author Richard Wright, but Lamming himself said once in an interview, that the Black writing from the United States was not really a part of his word at all. This partly autobiographical novel about growing up in poverty in the Barbados and Trinidad gained a huge success. The story moved between allegory and realism and at the same time traced rapid changes of a colonial society on its way to independence.
Lamming also employed its shifting point of view in the second novel, The Emigrants Again the story was partly autobiographical, focusing on a group of West Indian emigrants in Britain, who try find their identity in the hostile environment of the "mother country. Season of Adventure was also set in San Cristobal, where a middle-class woman explores her mother's background and undergoes self-transformation. While in London, he had a liaison with the Canadian novelist Margaret Laurence , whom he first met in Vancouver in the summer of Laurence said that he was "the kind of personality that hits you like the spirit of god between the eyes.
During the next decades, lecture tours and grants took him among others to Australia, India, Tanzania, Denmark, and the United States. From London Lamming eventually settled in Barbados. Lamming had met Carter in in Guyana, when it was in a state of emergency after a constitutional crisis. Carter had been in the colonial prison and was still under a kind of house arrest. When Lamming arranged a party for all the people involved in his radio programmes, the Governor, Sir Patrick Muir Renison, came there too, and Lamming introduced Renison to Carter. In the collection of essays, The Pleasures of Exile , Lamming examined the Caribbean colonial past, decolonization, and his own identity.
The title of the novel was from a poem by Derek Walcott. Lamming identifies with Caliban, Prospero's slave on a remote island in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Their much examined relationship mirror the opposition between colonizer and colonized. Caliban is not only exiled from his nature but also colonized by language. Moreover, I am a direct descendant of Prospero worshipping in the same temple of endeavour, using his legacy of language - not to curse our meeting - but to push it further, reminding the descendants of both sides that what's done is done, and can only be seen as a soil from which other gifts, or the same gift endowed with different meanings, may grow towards a future which is colonised by our acts in this moment, but which must always remain open.
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Is There a Place for the Scientist in the Caribbean Intellectual Landscape? - ProQuest
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