By Andrew Smith (auth.)

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Sample text

There was unquestionably something joyful about his run scoring, but it relied more on placement and clarity of shot than it did on power. It was a style, it seems to me, 44 C. L. R. James and the Study of Culture which looked backwards no less than forwards, back above all to the man whose record he broke in Antigua, Gary Sobers, of whom James said, in words that could be equally applied to Lara: he was ‘orthodoxy carried to the penultimate degree when orthodoxy itself disappears in the absolute’ (1986: 221).

L. R. James and the Study of Culture I 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.

It is precisely in these ways, in and through the qualities which are specific to dramatic writing as such, that the play could have grabbed its contemporary audience by the throat, forcing on their attention urgent social dilemmas which Shakespeare grasped at the outset of the modern era, and which remain – James says – unsolved in mid-twentieth-century America: Every man looking at [the characters of the play] today can see them not only in individual but in social terms. […] today we see these plays and in them is mirrored the life of society.

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