Zenosbooks

(12/18/2008) The Nobbie Stories For Children & Adults by C. L. R. James. Lincoln. 2006. University Of Nebraska Press. Edited & Introduced By Constance Webb. Foreword By Anna Grimshaw. keywords: Literature Caribbean Black Children's Books. 119 pages. Jacket photo - C. L. R. James with his son, courtesy of Anna Grimshaw.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   After more than a decade in the United States, the Caribbean writer C. L. R. James ran afoul of McCarthyism in 1953 and was deported. In exile in London, he began to write stories in the form of letters to his four-year-old son 'Nobbie,' who remained in the States. Through a distinctive, imaginary, and sometimes absurd cast of characters-Good Boongko, Bad boo-boo-loo, Moby Dick, and Nicholas the worker, among others-these stories explore questions of friendship, conflict, community, ethics, and power in humorous and often ingenious ways; they also stand as a moving testament to a father's struggle to be a vivid presence in the life of his son despite separation and distance. Attesting to James's remarkable gifts as a writer and his unusual talent for engaging wide and diverse audiences, these witty and poignant stories, published here for the first time, are not just for James aficionados. Each story is a delight in its own way, making the book irresistible for children and adults alike.

Cyril Lionel Robert James was an Afro-Trinidadian journalist, socialist theorist and writer. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, then a British Crown colony, James attended Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain before becoming a cricket journalist, and also an author of fiction. He would later work as a school teacher, teaching among others the young Eric Williams. Together with Ralph de Boissiere, Albert Gomes and Alfred Mendes, James was a member of the anti-colonialist Beacon Group, a circle of writers associated with The Beacon magazine. In 1932, he moved to Nelson in Lancashire, England in the hope of furthering his literary career. There he worked for the Manchester Guardian and helped the cricketer Learie Constantine write his autobiography. In 1933, James moved to London. James had begun to campaign for the independence of the West Indies while in Trinidad, and his Life of Captain Cipriani and the pamphlet The Case for West-Indian Self Government were his first important published works, but now he became a leading champion of Pan-African agitation and the Chair of the International African Friends of Abyssinia, formed in 1935 in response to Fascist Italy's invasion of what is now Ethiopia. He then became a leading figure in the International African Service Bureau, led by his childhood friend George Padmore, to whom he later introduced Kwame Nkrumah. In Britain, he also became a leading Marxist theorist. He had joined the Labour Party, but in the midst of the Great Depression he became a Trotskyist by 1934, James was a member of an entrist Trotskyist group inside the Independent Labour Party. In this period, amid his frantic political activity, James wrote a play about Toussaint L'Ouverture, which was staged in the West End in 1936 and starred Paul Robeson and Robert Adams. That same year saw the publication in London of James's only novel, Minty Alley, which he had brought with him in manuscript from Trinidad; it was the first novel to be published by a black Caribbean author in the UK. He also wrote what are perhaps his best-known works of non-fiction: World Revolution, a history of the rise and fall of the Communist International, which was critically praised by Leon Trotsky, and The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, a widely acclaimed history of the Haitian revolution, which would later be seen as a seminal text in the study of the African diaspora. In 1936, James and his Trotskyist Marxist Group left the Independent Labour Party to form an open party. In 1938, this new group took part in several mergers to form the Revolutionary Socialist League. The RSL was a highly factionalised organisation and when James was invited to tour the United States by the leadership of the Socialist Workers' Party, then the US section of the Fourth International, in order to facilitate its work among black workers, he was encouraged to leave by one such factional opponent, John Archer, in the hope of removing a rival. James moved to the USA in late 1938, and after a tour sponsored by the SWP stayed on for over twenty years. But by 1940 he had developed severe doubts about Trotsky's analysis of the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers state and left the SWP along with Max Shachtman, who formed the Workers' Party. Within the WP he formed the Johnson-Forest Tendency with Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee in order to spread their views within the new party. While within the WP the views of the J-F tendency underwent considerable development and by the end of the Second World War they had definitively rejected Trotsky's theory of Russia as a degenerated workers state, instead analysing it as being state capitalist. This political evolution was shared by other Trotskyists of their generation, most notably Tony Cliff. Unlike Cliff, they were increasingly looking towards the autonomous movements of oppressed minorities, a theoretical development already visible in James' thought in his discussions with Leon Trotsky which took place in 1939. An interest in such autonomous struggles came to take centre stage for the tendency. After 1945 the WP saw the prospects for a revolutionary upsurge as receding. The J-F Tendency, by contrast, were more enthused by prospects for mass struggles and came to the conclusion that the SWP, which they considered more proletarian than the WP, thought similarly to themselves about such prospects. Therefore, after a short few months as an independent group when they published a great deal of material for a small group, the J-F tendency joined the SWP in 1947. James would still describe himself as a Leninist, despite his rejection of Lenin's conception of the vanguard role of the revolutionary party, and argue for socialists to support the emerging black nationalist movements by 1949, he came to reject the idea of a vanguard party. This led his tendency to leave the Trotskyist movement and rename itself the Correspondence Publishing Committee. In 1955, nearly half the membership of Committee would leave under the leadership of Raya Dunayevskaya to form a separate tendency of Marxist-humanism and found the organization, News and Letters Committees. Whether Raya Dunayevskaya's faction constituted a majority or minority seems to be a matter of dispute. Historian Kent Worcester claims that Dunayevskaya's supporters formed a majority of the pre-split Correspondence Publishing Committee but Martin Glaberman has claimed in New Politics that the faction loyal to James had a majority. The Committee split again in 1962 as Grace Lee Boggs and James Boggs, two key activists, left to pursue a more Third Worldist approach. The remaining Johnsonites, including leading member Martin Glaberman reconstituted themselves as Facing Reality, which James advised from Britain until the group dissolved, against James' advice, in 1970. James's writings were influential in the development of Autonomist Marxism as a current within Marxist thought, though he himself saw his life's work as developing the theory and practice of Leninism. In 1953, James was forced to leave the US under threat of deportation for having overstayed his visa by over ten years. In his attempt to remain in the USA, James wrote a study of Herman Melville, Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In, and had copies of the privately published work sent to every member of the Senate. He wrote the book while being detained on Ellis Island. He returned back to England and then, in 1958 returned to Trinidad, where he edited The Nation newspaper for the pro-independence People's National Movement party. He also had become involved again in the Pan-African movement, believing that the Ghana revolution showed that decolonisation was the most important inspiration for international revolutionaries. James also advocated the West Indies Federation, and it was over this that he fell out with the PNM leadership. He returned to Britain, then to the USA in 1968, where he taught at the University of the District of Columbia. Ultimately, he returned to Britain and spent his last years in Brixton, London. In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of books by James were republished or reissued by Allison and Busby, including four volumes of selected writings: The Future In the Present, Spheres of Existence, At the Rendezvous of Victory and Cricket. In 1983, a short British film featuring James in dialogue with the famous historian E. P. Thompson was made. A public library in Hackney, London is named in his honor; in 2005 a reception there to mark its 20th anniversary was attended by his widow, Selma James. C. L. R. James is widely known as a writer on cricket, especially for his autobiographical 1963 book, Beyond a Boundary. This is considered a seminal work of cricket writing, and is often named as the best single book on cricket ever written. The book's key question, which is frequently quoted by modern journalists and essayists, is inspired by Rudyard Kipling and asks: What do they know of cricket who only cricket know? James uses this challenge as the basis for describing cricket in an historical and social context, the strong influence cricket had on his life, and how it meshed with his role in politics and his understanding of issues of class and race. The literary quality of the writing attracts cricketers of all political views. While editor of The Nation, he led the successful campaign in 1960 to have Frank Worrell appointed as the first black captain of the West Indies cricket team. Constance Webb spent many years working in the publishing industry as an editor and writer. Her correspondence with her husband, C. L. R. James, is the subject of the book Special Delivery. Anna Grimshaw, associate professor of anthropology at Emory University, was C. L. R. James's research assistant at the end of his life and edited SPECIAL DELIVERY and THE C. L. R. JAMES READER.

 

 

Check zenosbooks.com for either a used or a new copy of this book, or you can add it to your wishlist.

 



Search

Zeno's Picks

  • Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World. University Park. 2000. Penn State University Press. 9780271019949. Edited, with an introduction and annotations by Peter P. Hinks. 5 x 8.5. 2 illustrations. 184 pages. paperback.   FROM THE PUBLISHER - In 1829 David Walker, a free black born in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote one of America‚Äôs most provocative politicaldocuments of the nineteenth[…]

    Read more...
  • Dumas, Henry. Jonoah & the Green Stone

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Dumas, Henry. Jonoah & the Green Stone Dumas, Henry. Jonoah & the Green Stone. New York. 1976. Random House. 0394497910. 170 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Mike Stromberg.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - Henry Dumas was a first-rate writer with first-order intelligence. The publication of his short stories, ARK OF BONES, and poetry, PLAY EBONY PLAY IVORY, was received with spectacular acclaim. Now a novel has been discovered that will satisfy the appetites[…]

    Read more...
  • Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods. London. 2020. 4th Estate. 9780008440428. 71 pages. paperback.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - In this powerful and timely personal essay, best-selling author Otegha Uwagba reflects on racism, whiteness, and the mental labour required of Black people to navigate relationships with white people. Presented as a record of Uwagba's observations on this era-defining moment in history - that is,[…]

    Read more...
  • Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. Durham. 2008. Duke University Press. 9780822341161. 311 pages. paperback. Cover photograph - Claudia Jones in 1948.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - In LEFT OF KARL MARX, Carole Boyce Davies assesses the activism, writing, and legacy of Claudia Jones (1915-1964), a pioneering Afro-Caribbean radical intellectual, dedicated communist, and feminist. Jones is buried[…]

    Read more...
  • Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People. New York. 2010. Norton. 9780393049343. 496 pages. hardcover. Cover design by Keenan.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of notions of white race - not merely a skin color but also a signal of power, prestige, and beauty to be withheld and granted selectively. Our story begins in Greek and Roman antiquity, where the[…]

    Read more...
Copyright © 2021 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.