In Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society, Frank Rosengarten traces the intellectual and political development of C.L.R. James (1901-1989), one of the most significant Caribbean intellectuals of the twentieth century. In his political and philosophical commentary, his histories, drama, letters, memoir, and ficion, James broke new ground dealing with the fundamental issues of his age-colonialism and post-colonialism, Soviet socialism and western neo-liberal capitalism, and the uses of race, class, and gender as tools for analysis.
The author examines the in depth three facets of James's work: his interpretation and use of Marxist, Trotskyist, and Leninist concepts; his approach to Caribbean and African struggles for independence in the 1950s and 1960s; and his branching into prose fiction, drama, and literary criticism. Rosengarten analyzes James's previously underexplored relationships with women and with the women's liberation movement. The study also scrutinizes James's methods of research and writing.
Rosengarten explores James's provocative and influential concepts regarding black liberation in the Caribbean, Africa, the United States, and Great Britain and James's varying responses to revolutionary movements. With its extensive use of unpublished letters, private correspondence, papers, books, and other documents, Urbane Revolutionary provides fresh insights into the work of one of the twentieth century's most important intellectuals and activists.
Frank Rosengarten is professor emeritus of Italian and comparative literature at the City University of New York. He is the author of The Writings of the Young Marcel Proust (1885-1900): An Ideological Critique and The Italian Anti-Fascist Press, 1919-1945.
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