diumenge, 30 d’agost de 2009


George Lamming was born on June 8, 1927 in Barbados where he attended Combermere High School. He left for Trinidad in 1946, teaching school until 1950. He then emigrated to England where, for a short time, he worked in a factory. In 1951 he became a broadcaster for the BBC Colonial Service. 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. Since then, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Pennsylvania and a lecturer in Denmark, Tanzania, and Australia.

Lamming is one of the most highly regarded contemporary Caribbean writers. His works about the decolonization and reconstruction of the West Indies following the end of British colonial rule are commended for their nationalistic spirit and poetic prose style. Lamming's writing focuses on finding new political and social identity and the long-lasting effects of early colonialism on the minds and actions of the Caribbean people. His use of allegory and metaphor give deeper political meaning to stories of people newly freed from the oppression of colonial rule. Lamming's writing style is experimental, often containing circular plot structures and abrupt shifts in narrative. Through his direct confrontation of old colonial rule and his inventive writing style, Lamming has become a groundbreaking writer who has paved the way for younger Caribbean authors.

Lamming's first novel, In the Castle of My Skin, was published in 1953 and it as an "autobiographical novel of childhood and adolescence written against the anonymity and alienation from self and community the author experienced in London at the age of twenty-three." There is no conscious linkage with African influences. This partly autobiographical novel about growing up in poverty in the Barbados and Trinidad gained a huge success. The story moved between allegory and realism and at the same time traced rapid changes of a colonial society on its way to independence.Lamming also employed its shifting point of view in the second novel, The Emigrants, deals with a group of West Indian expatriates who, like Lamming, reside in England. His more recent works depart from this semi-autobiographical format. Again the story was partly autobiographical, focusing on a group of West Indian emigrants in Britain, who try find their identity in the hostile environment of the "mother country."Of Age and Innocence, here Lamming created his own Yoknapatawpha or Macondo, the fictional Caribbean island of San Cristobal. and Season of Adventure take place on Lamming's fictional Caribbean island of San Cristobal and represent an attempt "to rediscover a history of himself by himself."Also set in San Cristobal, a middle-class woman explores her mother's background and undergoes self-transformation. His next novel, Water with Berries, describes various flaws of West Indian society through the plot of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Natives of My Person, his final novel, is an account of the voyage of a slave-trading ship on its voyage from Europe to Africa to the North American colonies.

A highly political author, Lamming is credited, along with Vic Reid, Wilson Harris, V.S. Naipaul, Everton Weekes, Derek Walcott, Garfield Sobers, Mighty Sparrow, and others, with making the emergence of a Caribbean identity possible. Lamming sees the lack of cultural identity in this region as a direct result of thehistory of colonial rule. Lamming, who opposes colonialism as well as neo-colonialism, recognizes that language is a means of colonization and encourages resistance to cultural imperialism.

In the collection of essays, THE PLEASURES OF EXILE , Lamming examined the Caribbean colonial past, decolonization, and his own identity. Lamming identifies with Caliban, Prospero's slave on a remote island in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Their much examined relationship mirror the opposition between colonizer and colonized. Caliban is not only exiled from his nature but also colonized by language. The Caliban symbol has also inspired such Caribbean writers as Jean Rhys, Aimé Césaire, and Sam Selvon. Lamming's language is compassionate and intense, full of lyrical images. In dialogue he has used Creole extensively. Lamming's West Indian immigrants repeatedly face prejudices in their new circumstances in England. Sometimes the rejection is mutual as in the short story 'A Wedding is Spring'', in which a sister doesn't accept that her brother marries a white English woman, and plots against the wedding. But also the bride's parents refuse to attend the occasion. When Beresford, the brother, arrives with his friend to the church on a bicycle instead of riding in a limousine, which his sister Flo had canceled, she realizes that she cannot humiliate him before the idle crowd outside the church. The wedding has lost importance to her, it is a trifle compared with his disgrace.