One of our most illustrious sons of the soil is celebrating his 94th birthday on this day. For avid readers and even for those who are not, In the Castle of my Skin is highly recommended by the blogmaster.
Unlike developed societies, Caribbean people are loath to give acclaim to home-grown literary talent.
We thank you for showing that a native of the soil, from humble origins, raised on a tiny island is capable of performing on the global stage with distinction.
Happy Birth Day Sir.
Thanks Donna for reminding the blog of an important milestone belonging to a son of the soil.
The Great George Lamming is one of the two most worthy Bajans to have ever lived. The second would no doubt to General Bussa.
Lamming to his eternal credit is the only known Bajan who viscerally rebuffed the colonial government of Erskine Sandiford which proposed a knighthood.
Lamming’s argument was, and is, that he had spent his entire life fighting against colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism and capitalism making him ineligible for this tainted trinket.
More telling were the events as dramatized by a vexed Lamming. Those unfamiliar would have presumed that Sandiford’s ill-advised actions amounted to an abuse of his mother.
Lamming is the only benchmark by which we must be all judged.
Happy Birthday Sir
I am proud to say that an academic of your sort has attended my Primary School ….. Roebuck Boys Primary which was located in the heart of bridgetown ……
Would the contents of these words spoken by Lamming hold any truth or can be applied to the lyrics ofTrojan Riddinn Mix video
Speaking in 1970 on The Social Role of Writers he declared that: “The writer or artist is, in fact, a citizen and a worker; and his social role should be contained in the process of that work.
“The novelist or poet in such a society would be performing a social role of the greatest importance by writing the novels and poems which he feels he has to write and which bear witness to the experiences of that society at any or all of its levels.
“A social function has truly been fulfilled if such work helps to create an awareness of society which did not exist before; or to inform and enrich an awareness which was not yet deeply felt.”
George Lamming has remained true to the revolutionary/ liberation cause.
A true Comrade and Revolutionary.
General Bussa was an urban legend…………
I read somewhere that George Lamming taught in England, but I don’t know how true this is, but for a man of his literary acclaimed, I do not think that he has gotten the national recognition that he rightfully deserves.
People like Lamming don’t crave anybody’s recognition.
They crave the fundamental transformation of our world in favour of the dispossessed, the downtrodden, the poor.
Recognition, as an etymological, establishment, construct is precisely what he is against with every sinew of his being.
Your “recognition” is central to the “virtue signaling” respectability ethos which gives a cultural meaninglessness to Barbados.
Given his achievements the blogmaster was surprised to learn he has been living in Barbados very much under the radar.
Yes, that is the nature of the man.
Few know that although he was on the faculty of Brown University, one of the top four, socalled Ivey League, for years Lamming himself never reduced himself to even pursuing a first degree.
He’s deh only Bajan this writer has known to tell a PM of Barbados to put a knighthood where the sun fails to shine.
He’s the only genuine radical Barbados has known in this writer’s lifetime. All the the rest always find ways to compromise principles.
Is this the type of personage we should be showcasing especially during this period? Perhaps not, defiance at the establishment should never be encouraged!
D: “Given his achievements the blogmaster was surprised to learn he has been living in Barbados very much under the radar.”
P: “He’s the only genuine radical Barbados has known in this writer’s lifetime. All the the rest always find ways to compromise principles.”
why doesn’t Mr. Lamming post on BU, he seems to have no internet profile
The man is 94 years old. He does not have to do anything more. He has over achieved. It should be up to his fellow countrymen to find ways to recognize him.
Why is it that the late St. Lucian literary writer, Derek Wolcott has gotten a lot more recognition in the Caribbean than George Lamming whom has received his national acclaimed before Wolcott?
Derek Wolcott, as I have forgotten to mentioned, won the Nobel Prize in literature ………………………….
“He’s the only genuine radical Barbados has known in this writer’s lifetime. All the the rest always find ways to compromise principles.”
Do you seriously believe that ? I am surprised that you consider him more radical than all the radicals we have known and were genuine. To say he is the only genuine one is a bit over the top.
You may submit your list. Per usual you with exactitude will deny this writer poetic licence to stress a point of endearment.
But gallop on!
@ Dompey June 9, 2021 12:07 AM
I read somewhere that George Lamming taught in England, but I don’t know how true this is, but for a man of his literary acclaimed, I do not think that he has gotten the national recognition that he rightfully deserves. (Unquote)
There is a primary school (the old Carrington Village Primary) named after him.
G L is not interested in colonial titles like knighthoods; otherwise he would be wearing one on his hypocritical sleeve like (Sir) Hilary Beckles.
What about another literary icon Austin Tom Clarke now deceased?
For upcoming Independence we can launch a limited line of the Tom Clarke shirtjac?
No argument sought/ needed. No exactitude offered or intended. I have no list. Just a bit surprised at the comment.
Nothing further to say, Comrade.
@ David June 9, 2021 8:51 AM
You are dating’ yourself there, blogmaster!
What about outfitting the ‘working’ ladies many of whom are now the movers and shakers at the very top of the public sector workforce?
Certainly not in shirt-jacs for “women” in the boardrooms or even paramilitary-looking fatigues for the de facto first female general of pending republic?
I assume you were speaking tongue-in-cheek when you wondered if this is the kind of person we should be highlighting at present and stated that defiance of the establishment should not be encouraged at this time.
There is never a bad time for the challenge of a thoughtful rebel with a good cause.
And, I would submit that this time of upheavel is precisely the time to reimagine all systems and relationships – when we have hit rock bottom and only “business unusual” can build us back….. better, as is the current borrowed mantra.
We are about to become a republic. Again an opportune time to challenge old colonial constructs, our relationship to our government, our Caricom neighbours and the wicked western world system especially.
It is the thoughtless rebels of the west, those without a good cause, who have prolonged the current COVID crisis, a bunch of airheads led by the airhead of all airheads – Donald J. Trump.
It is irrational rebellion not rational rebellion that causes problems. Rational rebellion solves them.
And George Lamming is arguably the most rational rebel we have ever produced.
Our political leaders, if they are at all serious about taking us forward, should seek his counsel or at the very least, his writings. We have already noted their lack of imagination to see beyond our current confines.
We need to see the vision first because we all know that without it…. the people perish!
We need Barbados to stretch itself truly…. just beyond the limited imagination of the colonial-minded.
Sorry to hear of the passing of Clairmonte Taitt.
Source: Nation News
We must do more than just articulate about the needs of the Ordinary man and woman, we must actively work to make sure that he or she transformed from being the Ordinary man and woman to the extraordinary man and woman. Bertrand Russell, philosophized about the Practical man and woman or the man and woman who has little or no regarded, for the development of the intellect because he or she is simply concerned with the basic necessities of life and as leaders we must discourage this kind of thinking because it works against the advancement of our human civilization.
Note: though we have a tendency to admire those whom have made important contributions in the various areas of life, I often encourage the young people that I’ve met to be the very best of themselves. You want to be the best version of you!
Bertram Russell was also an unrepentant anarchist.
Maybe these two should be synthesized.
Cherrypicking one saying from here and there, from anybody, will never be representative of an entire life’s work.
“Lamming’s work makes it clear that unravelling what the Caribbean portend is an unfinished, yet emancipatory project. Unfinished because so much of it has been left undone; there is so much more to do,” said Barriteau. (HH)
At least Lamming gets it!
Today the west indies were bowled out for 96 on the first day of the initial test in Saint Lucia.
More troubling is the immaturity ot the line up forced into battle.
The arc of cricket underdevelopment as metaphor for the opposite of emancipation contradicts implied meanings.
At the centre of this backwardness are Black lackeys in Cricket West Indies who are committed to being led by Whiteness.
Our cricket has been purposefully laid low by an elitist mindset which could never escape a predilection that displays of power by Blacks over Whites, and other, on the international stage are inconsistent with their world views of subservience.
Found this interesting piece by Lamming.
Many years ago I had the honor of meeting and sharing a meal with Mr. Lamming. I was awed. A scholar and a gentleman. A supremely confident man. Not one to want or need a British knighthood. I wash him many more years of good health.
I’ve read some of his works, but shamefully not all. I must do better.
I am ashamed also. Read some but not all. Strange how I have not seen them at my branch library.
Mr. Lamming, taught in England and I would assume at a time when your academic pedigree made little difference, if the Castle of your skin were Black, so I am quite sure the distinguished gentleman harbour some resentment from those experiences in England.
Sir. Arthur Lewis, had a similar experienced when he taught at Stanford University in the 1960s! He related the experienced in one of his books, in which he stated that his academic pedigree, did not save him from the awful experienced of geographical racism.
SOURCE: NATION NEWS
This article by Trevor Marshall exposes the vicious respectability ethos so dominant in Barbados even amongst those on the socalled left.
For example, Marshall obviously could not have considered that the man from whom these Nobel Prizes were named and funded made his money by selling dynamite to several sides during World War One, was a fervent European colonialist.
More recently this prize has been most often awarded to people who support imperialism’s projects in our world. The Saint Lucian, Arthur Lewis, “earned” his by entraping African countries into economic policies which caused them to lose billions to European banks.
And we could go on and on about every award to sellouts in the South, across the board!
Even the casual observer could discern from the distribution patterns of these socalled prizes that political and other agendas are at play. In fact, the Nobel is not dissimilar to a knighthood or the award of the ownership of major league sports teams, which within the American context stand in for knighthoods.
I am ashamed to say I thought Mr Lamming had joined the ancestors. Castle Of My Skin is the only work of his I have read to date, another embarrassment on my part. I have some catching up to do. Respect and happy birthday to you Mr Lamming .
Black people are only nominated for the nobel peace award. Because we are the weakest people on this planet, naturally we are seen as the peacemaker.
What IS it with people and these bogus awards?
His works speaks for itself. Let his own people recognise him by embracing his work and learning from it!
Looks like the Walter Rodney narrative is finally being officially corrected in Guyana as per his family’s request!
On the subject of books. Michael Holding has just released one.
There is a political project being planned in Guyana by the Hindu-fascist PPP .of Jagdeo, aimed at covering up its racist conduct.
The PPP wants to dismiss 300 workers from the water authority,, the overwhelming majority of whom are Black.. They seek to replace them with Indians as they have a history of doing and have done since de rasssoul assholes in Caricom interfered in the elections to favour them.
To cover their apartheid policies the PPP is raising the spectre of Rodney as a distraction as they seek to combat complains about their behaviours, as made to the United Nations.
The argument to be made by the PPP is that the UN complaints are invalid because Walter Rodney, an Afro-Guyanese, is being lifted up. However, Black people in Guyana never had much love for Walter Rodney. They generally thought that he was an asshole, puffed up with a sense that he was the brightest man in the world.
Wrong on both counts.
As a youngster Walter Rodney was second to none in this writer”s estimation. However, his family is in no position to ask the PPP government of Guyana to rewrite the clear and true history of the circumstances surrounding his death.
The truth is settled knowledge. Rodney was trying to overthrow the government of Forbes Burnham and was plotting with a military man who was making a bomb with shrapnel intended to wreak substantial collateral damage.
Having arranged to test the bomb against the outer wall of the central prison complex it ended up in his, Rodney’s, lap and detonated, seemingly prematurely or at the betrayal of the military Confederates in this coup. Burnham had nothing to do with these events but currently this schema by the PPP could also cause a fissure within the opposition APNU coalition which comprises Burnham’s party and Rodney’s party.
About this plot to overthrow Burnham, Dr. David Hinds, a WPA member of Rodney’s party, at the time, spent years in jail and has since confirmed these events. Another senior member, of the WPA, we seem to remember his name as Roopnarine, we think, wrote a book detailing events much as we’ve tried to broadly outline.
This writer accepts the mantel of lacking hope in anything officialdom says to us. Doubled with experience of evaluating such plots, our central position is always to assume that everything is a fecking lie until proven otherwise.
David, your Caricom leaders, and the Caribbean, have no ideas about the demons they have let loose in Guyana. We trust that should the worse happen those same interfering misleaders will be military targets.
A harsh commentary. Will highlight it separately. Did a google of this Roopnarine, he seems to be a significant gatekeeper of information in the matter raised by you.
Thought there was a trick somewhere. Was not sure about the circumstances of Rodney’s death though.
@fortyacresandamule June 11, 2021 5:01 PM “Black people are only nominated for the nobel peace award. Because we are the weakest people on this planet, naturally we are seen as the peacemaker.”
This is not factual. Since professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges can nominate for the Nobel Prize in Literature it seems to me that one or more of the many universities at which Lamming has taught ought to nominate him. UWI I think as his home university should start the ball rolling by obtaining a nomination form this September from the Nobel Committee and submitting the nomination to reach the Nobel Committee no later than January 31, 2022. If UWI’s Literature Department has not before nominated Lamming then we should agitate for UWI to do so. The Nobel Prize does not come by magic, somebody has to do the boring administrative work, obtaining the nomination form, completing it, submitting it, I would bet anything that if he were nominated the nomination would be successful.
The right to submit proposals for the award of a Nobel Prize in Literature shall, by statute, be enjoyed by:
1. Members of the Swedish Academy and of other academies, institutions and societies which are similar to it in construction and purpose;
2. Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges;
3. Previous Nobel Laureates in Literature;
4. Presidents of those societies of authors that are representative of the literary production in their respective countries.
He entered academia in 1967 as a writer-in-residence and lecturer in the Creative Arts Centre and Department of Education at the University of the West Indies, Kingston (1967–68). Since then, he has been a visiting professor in the United States at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, Brown University, Cornell University, and Duke University…Lamming also directed the University of Miami’s Summer Institute for Caribbean Creative Writing
Mr. Lamming was 1998-1999 Visiting Professor of Creative Writing in the City University of New York (CCNY) English Department and Fulbright Scholar in Residence at the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC)
Source: Cohen Library. City University of New York
@Donna June 11, 2021 7:07 PM “What IS it with people and these bogus awards? His works speaks for itself. Let his own people recognise him by embracing his work and learning from it!”
Even while “yes” his work speaks for itself AND for us, I don’t consider the Nobel Literature prize bogus; besides Lamming deserves the prize, including the gold medal, the diploma, and US$1,145,000. The Nobel brings highly deserving international attention to the writer, it expands the reach of the writer’s voice to millions. Lamming’s voice deserves to be heard by these millions. The prize will boost sales of the writer’s work, and US$1,145,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Mr. Lamming may have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who can to can continue to financially benefit from his lifetime of excellent work. Call it reparations if you wish.
The greatest example of Lamming’s intellect is that according to @Pacha , he did not subject himself to even getting a first degree.
It’s also interesting that Trevor Marshall, who for close to fifty or more years as a historian , has never gotten the respect he deserves because in some peoples eyes, he is no Sir. Hilary Beckles, who until quite recently has been the darling of the entire country.
Indeed , I have no doubt that Lamming has been a victim of the same intellectual snobbery from which Marshall has suffered.
And there are other reasons why Lamming would have told them to take the knighthood and stuff it where monkey stuff the nuts.
Lamming knew what they thought of him outside of his literary genius.
Interesting thing is that Beckles went after the mutual and ended up in the board room.
Marshall has been exposing white Barbados long before anybody knew Beckles . The last time I saw Trevor, he was harvesting his own vegetables on open day at some plantation.
In short this society has little time for the Marshalls and Lammings.
Snobbery as an export product would easily solve all our Forex problems.
You have finally gotten to the point where is was no longer possible to not regurgitate these long-held and unsophisticated views about Trevor Marshall.
This from a man who a few days ago had no list. But all you really wanted to do was to achieve your political objective of not accepting the bait this writer laid. Turns. out you did have a list. A list of one.. Marshall was to be celebrated on Lamming’s birthday but shame prevented that.
Even after all these years you are yet not able to understanding the differences in standards between a professional social scientist and an amateur. And when you lack that understanding you lack everything.
To make the man-in-the-street leap into ignorance and equalize a Trevor Marshall with George Lamming entirely based on the absence of an advanced academic accreditation by either is not dissimilar to comparing Gearbox with Einstein. Lamming being Einstein, of course.
And yes. While this writer was never tethered to credentialism, when it comes to a body of work both Lamming and Beckles exist in an entirely difference space to Marshall the amateur. Even to consider all three as equals requires a leap of faith, is entirely based on your personal familial politics not science.
Everybody here has ideas about the professional levels of both Beckles and Lamming. Maybe you will enlighten us about those of Marshall, at the same or higher level.
You may have the final word.
I like my reparations with a tag marked reparations.
One would hope that his descendants are well placed to take care of themselves.
If George Lamming needs money, we in the Caribbean should not wait for the world to do what we should do ourselves.
I doubt that the Nobel prize would make us in the Caribbean more aware of his work or make us read it.
From what I understand of his work it is designed for us, the people of the Caribbean to read it with a view to reimagining and re-inventing ourselves and our relationships.
We seem to have done a bad job of reading and therefore have no chance of digesting.
I have retrieved from my bookshelf the only George Lamming book I ever saw in a bookstore or library in Barbados and have committed to reread it…slowly. I found it hard reading last time and I am certain I missed something of import.
After I finish that I will seek out his other books and read or reread them.
That is what we owe him. Then, after we have transformed our thinking, we would be qualified to take him out into the world again to show him off to those who need convincing.
It appears that this was his reason for writing – for US, not for some reward or token of appreciation or recognition from others in the world but for US to put to good use in our navigation of the world.
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The world knows of George Lamming. It is we who don’t. Lamming has been a world literary figure ever since he wrote that classic novel: In the Castle of My Skin.
We have no interest in educating Black children. I have made the point over and over that we spend so much time on the clowns dominating world politics that we forget Eric Williams and others of the region;we forget the work of CLR James. Look how we ignored Kamau Brathwaite and refused to bring home his library thirty years before he died.
Caribbean Reasonings- The George Lamming Reader: The Aesthetics of Decolonisation. is worth obtaining.
I think it came out about ten or more years ago.
You have to be on comedy pills. You can lay all the traps you like. I left high school at least fifty years or more ago.
I merely said that Marshall in many ways suffers from the malaise of intellectual snobbery. I have no damn list.
You are looking for an argument . Wrong tree this time. The same standards you get here and denounce you use when convenient. You don’t have the ability to determine who is an amateur or professional historian. What standards are you using? The frigging “ peers”
You have written my final word. I don’t go around judging a body of work only on a piece of paper that says: doctorate.
Imagine you calling a citizen who has taught thousands of children about their true history. A man who has dedicated his life to exposing myths and enlightening a society starved of true historians an “ amateur “
Let me ask you something @ Pacha: Are you a professional professor on globalization? Did you write your doctoral thesis on Globalization? Did you sit before your “peers” ? But you come here pontificating on that subject every other day. Should we dismiss you as an amateur?
Ease off the damn comedy polls , Comrade!
@ et al
BTW : Lamming has received and accepted several awards from throughout the literary world.
“Everybody here has ideas about the professional levels of both Beckles and Lamming. Maybe you will enlighten us about those of Marshall, at the same or higher level.”
In my book Marshall’s contribution to this country is no lower or higher than yours, Lamming or Beckles.
They are productive citizens in their chosen fields of endeavor. You are slowly but surely exposing how you think. You must write as you think. Not try to camouflage in order to prove some intellectual gotcha high school point.
BTW it is absolutely amazing that you’re such a big Lamming fan when almost all your offerings are in direct opposition to what Lamming says and writes.
Very interesting ………..,,,,
RIP to a true Bajan and Caribbean giant.
Amen. He will rise continually in the glory of his achievements!
An interesting tidbit is Lamming’s secondary school sojourn to 6th form as noted above. It would be interesting to review the achievements of his contemporaries of the day. Several made Barbados proud in academia and beyond – it seems from various news items seen over the years – but undoubtedly George Lamming was the primus among them all!
Do we have authors of recent vintage who in your opinion has the potential to rival Lamming?
That’s almost a trick question @David … George Lamming has such a tremendous, extensive body of work (published and otherwise) that it’s quite difficult to identify any one Bajan to rival his stature… almost like saying are there any Bajans to rival Sir Garry’s prowess!
In short, yes there are some very talented Bajan writers (as they are cricketers of high repute) but to name one who can RIVAL (comparatively so at Lamming’s early stage career , of course) I am unable to answer that! …. As none have come close to matching our cricketing national hero.
Some people are cross generational, exceptionally talented of a genius often unmatched to others … in a small nation such as ours can such genius replicate twice or thrice in 100 years, I would wonder!
Wow. Apart from Dribbler, Pacha and the Blogmaster hardly a mention on BU of the great man’s passing. Quite a surprise to me.
Not many have excelled at their craft as he has, far less one coming from Bim.
Why do you think that is David? An inability to salute greatness? Or genuine lack of interest?
Or are they waiting for you to post a tribute blog?
Probably a bit of all that you mentioned. The majority of commenters on BU prefer to be uni focused.
But salute to you giving it some attention.
To be fair the traditional media has been ‘bigging’ up.