New PDF release: C.L.R. James and the Study of Culture

By Andrew Smith

ISBN-10: 0230220215

ISBN-13: 9780230220218

This ebook presents the 1st committed advent to the cultural writings and analyses of the unconventional West Indian philosopher C.L.R. James. It lays out James' account of ways within which video games, books, tune and movie turn into part of the politics and background of well known struggles.

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R. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-24 Forms 24 C. L. R. James and the Study of Culture Hansen is not the only one of James’ interlocutors, then or since, to find in his respectful treatment of cultural forms evidence of a failure of critical imagination. Take, for example, some of the more recent responses to Beyond a Boundary, James’ famous study of colonial politics, sport and his own life. It is this book, along with The Black Jacobins, which has been central in securing James’ reputation, and it has certainly won him his widest readership.

We shall have to watch that and by watching that, we shall be able to reconstruct the real Whitman’ (1993: 51, my italics). James’ reading of Whitman’s form, at least of the long, liturgical lists of Salut au Monde, treats his poetry as a failure. Whitman’s repetitive hailing of the wider world reveals, he says, a thwarted longing, the desire to reconcile a romantic individualism with the extraordinary possibilities for social and productive cooperation that were emerging in America. This was, in many respects, what James saw as the essential contradiction of American modernity.

Hansen went on to picture those same interests as a kind of decorative bandage, designed to conceal James’ political misunderstandings, which ‘jut out from [his] copious references to ancient history, to literature and to esthetics like unlanced boils’ (165). He capped off his attack with the damning verdict that Johnson/James was an ‘unconscious empiricist and formalist’ (1940: 166; compare Renton 2007: 165–6). Further weight was lent to this judgement, in his account, by the fact that Hansen could report at first hand that Leon Trotsky had arrived at a similar conclusion after he and Johnson/James had met at Coyoacan, Mexico in April 1939 in order to discuss, among other things, the question of the relationship between ‘Negro’ and socialist politics in the United States.

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C.L.R. James and the Study of Culture by Andrew Smith

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