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139 reviews of excitement, action, adventure — dangerous money-running, car rides driven by people high on drugs and carrying enormous sums of money, threatening Rastafarians, double agents, a riot, fire, police raids, and the final "invasion." And, of course, there is the Uterary stereotype of such fiction, the local beauty from the slums, a woman than whom Frey had never seen any other more beautiful, and who, again as can be expected, is killed before she and he can make it together back to America. Speer Morgan is a teacher of creative writing. His book is well-crafted. But this comment , made of a book that strikes one as being merely a good summer read, only serves to remind us of Robert LiddeU's comment in Treatise on theNovel'that technical skiU may be one of the factors which "may make ephemeral work worth reading for some years after its publication [though it does] not confer on it the title of iterature, which distinguishes only such reading matter as is of permanent value." GARTH ST. OMER C.L.R. James. Spheres ofExistence. Lawrence Hill Co., 1981. 266 pp. $7.95 (paper). C.L.R. James. Notes on Dialectics. Lawrence HiU Co., 1981. 231 pp. $6.95. (paper). "I want to make it absolutely clear that I repudiate the idea that politics is 'about power,'" wrote the octogenerian revolutionist this past April, upbraiding eulogies to the Late Prime Minister Eric WilUams in the Trinidad Express. "Power, you seem to think, is an end. To me it is a means by which one achieves an end, the material and spiritual betterment of the country that one is ruling. Otherwise power is a disaster for the ruled as weU as for the rulers." This about sums up James' politics of the last fifty years. A Trinidadian inteUectual, he emigrated to Britain in the 1930s where he wrote in hurried succession one ofthe first major West Indian novels, Minty Alley, an opening shot in the struggle for national independence , The Case for West Indian Self-Govemment, and the famous history of the San Domingo slave revolt, The Black Jacobins. He also helped such later notables as Jomo Kenyatta, George Padmore and Kwame Nkrumah to form an African independence movement . Today he remains, along with Martinique's Aime Cesaire, the last of the recalcitrant survivors of that pioneer poUtical and Uterary phase in Black radicalism. From the late 1930s to the early 1950s he sojourned in the U.S., working his way through orthodox Trotskyism to a post-Leninist vision of Black and labor self-emancipation. In the 1950s he returned to Trinidad, where his former protege WilUams finally placed him under house arrest as a poUtical threat. Since then he has divided his time between America, England and the West Indies, a truly international activist with no party (his most influential foUower, Guyanese inteUectual Walter Rodney, was assassinated a year ago) but enormous personal influence. The chief mark of his career has been his unwillingness to sanctify the bureaucratic use of power in the name of "social progress" or Socialism, and his consequent insistence upon human values as their own end. Lost in the obscurity of radical and smaU press publication over the years, his essential writings have begun to see the light. Spheres of Existence is the second volume of his selected works to be pubUshed by Lawrence HUl. Notes on Dialectics: Hegel-Marx-Lenin constitutes his major philosophical statement, available only in mimeographed form since its initial publication in the early 1950s. There is stiU more to the corpus: selected essays, TheFuture in the Present, and Kwame Nkrumah, available from Lawrence HiU, studies in Uterary criticism and other works reprinted by Bewick Editions, and a final volume of essays yet to come. But the two books in question offer a gUmpse more than adequate to the 140 the minnesota review scope of the author's accomplishment, and his value for cunent readers. Reading Spheres of Existence is Uke a tour into the wilderness of James' years. One begins careening through the backstreets Ufe of 1920s Trinidad in short stories about a thiriy-cents-per-day cocoa plantation girl's first love, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 139-140
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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