Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-568f69f84b-lkk24 Total loading time: 0.18 Render date: 2021-09-17T17:38:24.127Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Article contents

Metropolitan Modernism and Its West Indian Interlocutors: 1950s London and the Emergence of Postcolonial Literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Abstract

Using archival sources, interviews, and memoirs, this essay documents the surprisingly extensive connections between London's extant modernists and West Indian writers during the 1950s. With the support of Stephen Spender, John Lehmann, T. S. Eliot, and other luminaries, a vibrant group of Caribbean artists quickly established themselves as known literary commodities. Such forms of collaboration between metropolitan intellectuals and their colonial counterparts were structured by shared interests in high culture. London's modernists feared English culture was faced with terminal decline; West Indian writers exploited that fear by insisting that the metropolitan culture industry badly needed an infusion of colonial talent. The brevity and fragility of these bonds, however, led to the emergence of postcolonial literature as a distinct but marginal cultural niche. London's postwar identity as center of global cultural production, I suggest, was intimately connected with the recruitment and assimilation of colonial intellectuals.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial?Critical Inquiry 17 (1991): 336–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Athill, Diana. Interview with Anne Walmsley. 9 July 1987.Google Scholar
Athill, Diana. Stet: An Editor's Life. New York: Grove, 2000.Google Scholar
Baker, Houston A. Jr. Modernism and the Harlem Re -naissance. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984.Google Scholar
Breiner, Laurence A.Caribbean Voices on the Air: Radio, Poetry, and Nationalism in the Anglophone Caribbean.” Communities of the Air: Radio Century, Radio Culture. Ed. Squier, Susan Merrill. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. 93108.Google Scholar
Briggs, Asa. The BBC: The First Fifty Years. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1985.Google Scholar
Briggs, Asa. Sound and Vision: History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Vol. 4. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1979.Google Scholar
Carpenter, Humphrey. The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the Third Programme and Radio 3, 1946–1996. London: Weidenfeld, 1996.Google Scholar
English, James F. The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Freedman, Jonathan. The Temple of Culture: Assimilation and Anti-Semitism in Literary Anglo-America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.Google Scholar
Gikandi, Simon. Writing in Limbo: Modernism and Ca ribbean Literature. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber, 1954.Google Scholar
Griffith, Glyne. “‘This Is London Calling the West Indies’: The BBC's Caribbean Voices.' Schwarz 196208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harris, Wilson. Palace of the Peacock. London: Faber, 1960.Google Scholar
Hynes, Samuel. The Auden Generation: Literature and Politics in England in the 1930s. New York: Viking, 1976.Google Scholar
James, Louis. “The Caribbean Artists Movement.” Schwarz 209–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lamming, George. The Emigrants. 1954. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lamming, George. In the Castle of My Skin. New York: McGraw, 1953.Google Scholar
Lamming, George. The Pleasures of Exile. 1960. London: Allison, 1984.Google Scholar
Latham, Sean. Am I a Snob? Modernism and the Novel. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leeming, David. Stephen Spender: A Life in Modernism. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.Google Scholar
Lehmann, John. In My Own Time: Memoirs of a Literary Life. Boston: Little, 1969.Google Scholar
Lewis, Pericles. Modernism, Nationalism, and the Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Low, Gail. “Publishing the Commonwealth: The Case of West Indian Writing, 1950-65.” EnterText: An Interactive Interdisciplinary E-Journal for Cultural and Historical Studies and Creative Work 2.1 (2001–02): 7193.Google Scholar
Mais, Roger. Black Lightning. London: Cape, 1955.Google Scholar
Naipaul, V. S. Literary Occasions. Ed. and introd. Mishra, Pankaj. New York: Vintage, 2003.Google Scholar
Naipaul, V. S. Miguel Street. London: Deutsch, 1959.Google Scholar
Nanton, Philip. “What Does Mr. Swanzy Want? Shaping or Reflecting? An Assessment of Henry Swanzy's Contribution to the Development of Caribbean Literature.” Kunapipi 20 (1998): 1120.Google Scholar
Osborne, John. Look Back in Anger. New York: Penguin, 1957.Google Scholar
Paul, Kathleen. Whitewashing Britain: Race and Citizen ship in the Postwar Era. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pike, Frank. Interview with Anne Walmsley. 29 June 1987.Google Scholar
Pollard, Charles. New World Modernisms: T. S. Eliot, Derek Walcott, and Kamau Brathwaite. Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 2004.Google Scholar
Rainey, Lawrence. Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture. New Haven: Yale UP, 1998.Google Scholar
Roger Mais.” Obituary. Times [London] 22 June 1955: 13.Google Scholar
Salkey, Andrew. The Adventures of Catullus Kelly. London: Hutchinson, 1969.Google Scholar
Salkey, Andrew. Interview with Anne Walmsley. 20 Mar. 1986.Google Scholar
Schwarz, Bill, ed. West Indian Intellectuals in Britain. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Selvon, Sam. The Lonely Londoners. London: Wingate, 1956.Google Scholar
Sinfield, Alan. Literature, Politics, and Culture in Postwar Britain. Berkeley: U of California P, 1989.Google Scholar
Slemon, Stephen. “Modernism's Last Post.” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 20 (1989): 317.Google Scholar
Sutherland, John. Stephen Spender: A Literary Life. New York: Oxford UP, 2005.Google Scholar
Swanzy, Henry. Letter to Cedric Lindo. 1 Oct. 1954. Henry Swanzy Papers. U of Birmingham.Google Scholar
Swanzy, Henry, and Walcott, Derek. Letters. 1945–56. Henry Swanzy Papers. U of Birmingham.Google Scholar
Walcott, Derek. Harry Dernier: A Play for Radio Production. Bridgetown: Barbados Advocate, 1952.Google Scholar
Walcott, Derek. Twenty-Five Poems. Port of Spain: Guardian Commercial Printery, 1948.Google Scholar
Walmsley, Anne. The Caribbean Artists Movement, 1966–1972. London: New Beacon, 1992.Google Scholar
Whitehead, Kate. The Third Programme: A Literary History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1989.Google Scholar
Williams, Raymond. “Metropolitan Perceptions and the Emergence of Modernism.” The Politics of Modernism. Ed. and introd. Pinkney, Tony. London: Verso, 1989. 3748.Google Scholar
Wright, Adrian. John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure. London: Duckworth, 1998.Google Scholar
Wyndham, Francis. “The New West Indian Writers.” Harper's Bazaar May 1958: 63+.Google Scholar
5
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Metropolitan Modernism and Its West Indian Interlocutors: 1950s London and the Emergence of Postcolonial Literature
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Metropolitan Modernism and Its West Indian Interlocutors: 1950s London and the Emergence of Postcolonial Literature
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Metropolitan Modernism and Its West Indian Interlocutors: 1950s London and the Emergence of Postcolonial Literature
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *