Beyond a Boundary
James, C.L.R.Publisher: Duke
Year Published: 1983 First Published: 1963
Pages: 268pp Price: $28.50 ISBN: 978-0-8223-1383-0
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX6735
Part memoir of a boyhood in a black colony (by one of the founders of African nationalism), part passionate celebration of the game of cricket, this book raises serious questions about race, class, politics, and the realities of colonial oppression.
Abstract: How does an apparently coercive instrument of British imperialism, used to civilise and indoctrinate colonial subjects, become a means of challenging the colonial order? While cricket has been regarded as a metaphor for the British Empire itself, for C.L.R. James it is also a site of dissent and integral to the move toward self-determination in the West Indies. James argues that sports cannot be reduced to mere entertainment, and offers instead a view of cricket in which it appears as dramatic spectacle and visual art. James situates his account of cricket in a broad social and political framework which begins with his childhood in the town of Tunapuna, Trinidad.
Literature and cricket were James' dual passions and inculcated in him a British moral and ethical code. Understanding the political dynamics of cricket in a specifically West Indian colonial context helped prepare James for entry into the political sphere. Membership in cricket clubs was mediated by hierarchies of race, class and skin-hue where club owners and financiers dictated the inclusion or exclusion of players. The exclusion of black captains and the control of cricket by a privileged white minority were symbolic of the barriers to independence and crystalised national sentiment. James draws attention to an incident where spectators threw bottles at a test match, bringing into focus the publics' increasing frustration with the racism inherent in cricket.
James' discussion of cricket reform stands as a metaphor for national political reform, making the victory on the cricket pitch more than a victory of representation or a gesture to inclusion, but a source of hope in the movement towards independence and liberation.
[Abstract by Diana Canning]
Table of Contents
Part I: A Window to the World
1. The Window
2. Against the Current
3. Old School-tie
Part II: All the World's a Stage
4. The Light and the Dark
5. Patient Merit
6. Three Generations
7. The Most Unkindest Cut
Part III: One Man in his Time
8. Prince and Pauper
9. Magnanimity in Politics
10. Wherefore are these things hid?
Part IV: To Interpose a Little Ease
11. George Headley: Nascitur Non Fit
Part V: W G: Pre-eminent Victorian
12. What do Men Live by?
13. Prolegomena to W G
14. W G
15. Decline of the West
Part VI: The Art and Practic Part
16. 'What Is Art?'
17. The Welfare State of Mind
Part VII: Vox Populi
18. The Proof of the Pudding
19. Alma Mater: Lares and Penates
Epilogue and Apotheosis