Barbadian Novelist reviewed in St Maarten: Sovereignty of the Imagination – New book by George Lamming
The newest book by illustrious Caribbean novelist/thinker George Lamming has been published in St Martin, according to Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
Sovereignty of the Imagination, with its main essays “Sovereignty of the Imagination” and “Language and the Politics of Ethnicity,” is the third Conversations title by Lamming and the second in the series published by HNP – and available at www.amazon.com.
“The tight relationship between politics, knowledge, language, and the spaces of freedom in Lamming’s writings makes him one of the most important political novelists in Caribbean Literature,” said Anthony Bogues, a political scientist at Brown University.
Writer Fabian Badejo said that the Barbadian author’s text is “rich, elegant and intellectually seductive as ever; the thrust always towards a new Caribbean ‘with the sovereign right to define its own reality and order its own priorities’.”
“It is as if he were humming Bob Marley’s Redemption Song as a dirge, then intoning it as an anthem of ‘cultural sovereignty’ which [Lamming] describes as ‘the free definition and articulation of the collective self, whatever the rigor of external constraints’,” said Badejo.
“For Lamming to publish a book of this quality in the Caribbean when he is much sought after by publishers abroad, is also an investment in his belief and work, in the people and region where his life’s commitment abides,” said Sample.
In the essay “Language and the Politics of Ethnicity” Lamming brings up a daring and widening definition of Caribbean people, culture and identity that embraces the region’s African and East Indian descendants in what we might call in St. Martin the way of ‘the bold and the brave,’ said Sample.
In the essay “Sovereignty of the Imagination” Lamming’s take on Caribbean political parties and unions may be troubling to some, especially politicians, but will be revealing to others.
Dr. Lamming also challenges us to face up to the difference between governing and ruling in a region where the majority of the nations are independent but where realizing sovereignty is still a profound struggle, said Sample.
According to Badejo, Lamming, as an abiding father of Caribbean literature, is “daring us to embrace a new definition of ourselves as we seek to carve out a niche for our democratic future in a world bent on branding us as victims of the past.”
“Lamming’s preoccupation with freedom is today very apropos because one feature of our contemporary world is the resurgence of a current of thought and action, which heralds the virtues of empire,” said Bogues, who is also a scholar with the Centre for Caribbean Thought.