Familiar Stranger by Stuart Hall
A Life Between Two Islands (Stuart Hall: Selected Writings)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

A little frustratingly, the book does not dwell at any length on the challenges and triumphs of Hall’s later career that this remark implies, or the day-to-day texture of assimilation and its discontents. It traces instead some of the tensions and friendships that produced the New Left Review...
-Guardian

Synopsis

"Sometimes I feel myself to have been the last colonial." This, in his own words, is the extraordinary story of the life and career of Stuart Hall—how his experiences shaped his intellectual, political, and theoretical work and how he became one of his age's brightest intellectual lights.

Growing up in a middle-class family in 1930s Kingston, Jamaica, still then a British colony, the young Stuart Hall found himself uncomfortable in his own home. He lived among Kingston's stiflingly respectable brown middle class, who, in their habits and ambitions, measured themselves against the white elite. As colonial rule was challenged, things began to change in Kingston and across the world. In 1951 a Rhodes scholarship took Hall across the Atlantic to Oxford University, where he met young Jamaicans from all walks of life, as well as writers and thinkers from across the Caribbean, including V. S. Naipaul and George Lamming. While at Oxford he met Raymond Williams, Charles Taylor, and other leading intellectuals, with whom he helped found the intellectual and political movement known as the New Left. With the emotional aftershock of colonialism still pulsing through him, Hall faced a new struggle: that of building a home, a life, and an identity in a postwar England so rife with racism that it could barely recognize his humanity.

With great insight, compassion, and wit, Hall tells the story of his early life, taking readers on a journey through the sights, smells, and streets of 1930s Kingston while reflecting on the thorny politics of 1950s and 1960s Britain. Full of passion and wisdom, Familiar Stranger is the intellectual memoir of one of our greatest minds.
 

About Stuart Hall

See more books from this Author
Stuart Hall (1932–2014) was one of the most prominent and influential scholars and public intellectuals of his generation. He was a prolific writer and speaker and a public voice for critical intelligence and social justice who appeared widely on British television and radio. He taught at the University of Birmingham and the Open University, was the founding editor of New Left Review, and served as the director of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies during its most creative and influential decade. He is the author of Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and Other Essays and Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History, both also published by Duke University Press.Bill Schwarz is Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London, author of Memories of Empire, Volume I: The White Man's World, and an editor of History Workshop Journal. Schwarz and Catherine Hall are Stuart Hall's literary executors.
 
Published March 16, 2017 by Duke University Press Books. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Familiar Stranger
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Tim Adams on Apr 02 2017

A little frustratingly, the book does not dwell at any length on the challenges and triumphs of Hall’s later career that this remark implies, or the day-to-day texture of assimilation and its discontents. It traces instead some of the tensions and friendships that produced the New Left Review...

Read Full Review of Familiar Stranger: A Life Bet... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Colin Grant on Mar 31 2017

The conversational tone of the book has emerged from the hours of interviews Schwarz conducted with Hall over a number of years. The project began as a collaboration, and clearly Schwarz is a faithful amanuensis.

Read Full Review of Familiar Stranger: A Life Bet... | See more reviews from Guardian
×