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Claude McKay: The Making of a Black Bolshevik Hardcover – July 12, 2022

4.7 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A compelling and provocative rendering of the complex transnational racial geographies that shaped the remarkable Claude McKay. Winston James illuminates underexplored features of post-emancipation history and, through exhaustive research, dramatizes the deep entanglements between place and psyche, poetry and politics, violence and hope. -- Honor Ford-Smith, York University

The wandering poet and revolutionary socialist Claude McKay was one of the twentieth century’s most captivating writers, noted for his intellectual intensity and emotional depth. Combining unparalleled erudition, literary sensitivity, and political nous, Winston James’s book provides a compelling and authoritative account of the life that McKay made and the circumstances within which he made it.
-- Peter Hulme, professor emeritus, University of Essex

Meticulously researched and superbly written, this is the premier work on Claude McKay’s astonishing artistic range and diverse passions. It is also an incisive examination of the wider Jamaican and Caribbean colonial context, and a major contribution to the history of the Atlantic world, the Harlem Renaissance, and the overlooked connection with the founders of Négritude. -- Franklin W. Knight, Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor Emeritus of History, Johns Hopkins University

Winston James’s resurrection of the many lives of Claude McKay is a revelation. Page after page, his McKay becomes an increasingly startling figure, never conforming to prevailing expectations. As the narrative gathers pace, McKay shimmers, the life outgrowing the circumstances of his history. The unfolding story presents us with a portrait that is simultaneously compelling and troubling. McKay will never be the same. -- Bill Schwarz, Queen Mary University of London

James provides a deep understanding of McKay’s early political formation and radicalization and how these origins structured McKay’s thinking and art. He ably historicizes McKay while retaining a keen sensitivity to McKay’s literary contributions. -- Michelle Ann Stephens, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Elegantly written and carefully reasoned, this is a fascinating look at the political evolution of a key literary figure. ―
Publishers Weekly

James is a perceptive literary critic, and his close readings are some of the most electrifying parts of
The Making of a Black Bolshevik. -- Jennifer Wilson ― Dissent Magazine

A powerfully relevant study about an iconoclastic Black thinker and poet who was dedicated to economic reform as well as the eradication of racism. -- Thomas Filbin ―
The Arts Fuse

The revolutionary Jamaican poet Claude McKay deserves a good Marxist biographer and has found one. Winston James’s new book on McKay illuminates the mind and art of one of the most important writers of the early twentieth century as it responded to the seismic contest between capitalism, colonialism, and Socialism in the age of the Russian Revolution. -- Bill Mullen ―
Tempest Magazine

About the Author

Winston James is the author of A Fierce Hatred of Injustice: Claude McKay’s Jamaica and His Poetry of Rebellion (2000); The Struggles of John Brown Russwurm: The Life and Writings of a Pan-Africanist Pioneer, 1799–1851 (2010); and Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century America (second edition, 2020), winner of the Gordon K. Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship of the Caribbean Studies Association. He is also coeditor of and contributor to Inside Babylon: The Caribbean Diaspora in Britain (1993). James has held teaching positions in the United Kingdom and the United States, most recently as professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Columbia University Press (July 12, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 464 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0231135920
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0231135924
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.96 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1.25 x 9.75 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

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Winston James, who was born in Jamaica and grew up in Jamaica and Britain, earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. In addition to Claude McKay: The Making of a Black Bolshevik (Columbia University Press, 2022) his books include A Fierce Hatred of Injustice: Claude McKay’s Jamaica and His Poetry of Rebellion (Verso, 2000); The Struggles of John Brown Russwurm: The Life and Writings of a Pan-Africanist Pioneer, 1799-1851 (New York University Press, 2010) and Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century America (originally published in 1998, second edition, Verso, 2020), winner of the Gordon K. Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship of the Caribbean Studies Association. In addition to authoring numerous articles and chapters in scholarly journals and books, James is also co-editor of and contributor to the pioneering collection, Inside Babylon: The Caribbean Diaspora in Britain, first published in 1993. He has held teaching positions at institutions on both sides of the Atlantic, including Goldsmiths, University of London, Columbia University, where he taught for over a decade, and most recently as professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

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