Beyond Calypso: Re-reading Samuel Selvon
Beyond Calypso breaks this trend by presenting wide-ranging analyses that consider the full body of Selvon’s writing.
By: Malachi McIntosh
Samuel Selvon is a seminal figure in the Caribbean, Canadian and black British literary traditions, but one often under-analysed – the examination of his oeuvre largely restricted to considerations of his calypso aesthetics, dialectal humour and social realism. Although Selvon is a major author, the bulk of his writing remains unread and the contexts of his production, as well as his life as a writer, are largely misunderstood.
Beyond Calypso breaks this trend by presenting wide-ranging analyses that consider the full body of Selvon’s writing. Including assessments of the poetry, short stories and non-fiction that have thus far escaped sustained critical attention, Beyond Calypso unites scholars from the three sites from which Selvon pursued his literary career and progresses past the standard themes that have dominated previous assessments of the author. The collection begins with a survey of Selvon’s criticism by the leading Selvon scholar Kenneth Ramchand, and moves on to draw together new archival research, surveys of hitherto out-of-print texts, broad readings of Selvon’s works and more focused analyses.
Presenting a fresh and comprehensive engagement with the work of one of the most significant figures in Caribbean and world literature, Beyond Calypso reinvigorates interest in Samuel Selvon and sets the agenda for future Selvon studies.
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INTRODUCTION – On Re-reading Sam Selvon and “Beyond” – Malachi McIntosh
1. The Other Selvons – Kenneth Ramchand
2. A Brighter Sun: “I Still Want to See How the Story Unfolds” – Conversations with a Novel – Vahni Capildeo
3. A Man Who Knows His Capabilities and His Limitations is Benign to Papa Bois: On Omniscience, Autonomy and Paternal Authority in Turn Again Tiger and Those Who Eat the Cascadura – Lewis MacLeod
4. The Island and the World: Kinship, Friendship and Living Together in Selected Writings of Sam Selvon – Alison Donnell
5. Three into One Can Go? Creolizing Narrations of “East Indian Trinidadian West Indians” in Selvon, Lovelace and Motoo – Denise deCaires Narain
6. Symptoms of a Malaise: Diagnosing Post-War Caribbean Identity in An Island is a World and I Hear Thunder – Lorna Burns
7. Racialized Femininities in Samuel Selvon’s Trinidad Novels – Kate Houlden
8. Cascadura Lovesongs: Displacing Indo-, Afro- and Other-centricities in Selvon’s Romance – J. Vijay Maharaj
9. “English Brother or Not”: British State-National Critiques and the Moment of Pressure
10. “Playing Mas Isn’t Playing the Ass”: Moses Migrating as “Farce en Noir”
AFTERWORD – Continuing to Defy Categories: Unusual Encounters with Samuel Selvon