Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History; a Play in Three Acts by C. L. R. James. Durham. 2013. Duke University Press. Edited and introduced by Christian Høgsbjerg. With a foreword by Laurent Dubois. 224 pages. paperback. Cover: The British Library Board, ‘The Sketch’, 25 March 1936, pg 613. 9780822353140.




   In 1934 C. L. R. James, the widely known Trinidadian intellectual, writer, and political activist, wrote the play Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History, which was presumed lost until the rediscovery of a draft copy in 2005. The play's production, performed in 1936 at London's Westminster Theatre with a cast including the American star Paul Robeson, marked the first time black professional actors starred on the British stage in a play written by a black playwright. This edition includes the program, photographs, and reviews from that production, a contextual introduction and editorial notes on the play by Christian Hogsbjerg, and selected essays and letters by James and others. In Toussaint Louverture, James demonstrates the full tragedy and heroism of Louverture by showing how the Haitian revolutionary leader is caught in a dramatic conflict arising from the contradiction between the barbaric realities of New World slavery and the modern ideals of the Enlightenment. In his portrayal of the Haitian Revolution, James aspired to vindicate black accomplishments in the face of racism and to support the struggle for self-government in his native Caribbean. Toussaint Louverture is an indispensable companion work to The Black Jacobins (1938), James's classic account of Haiti's revolutionary struggle for liberation. This edition of Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History includes the program, photographs, and reviews from its 1936 production at London's Westminster Theatre, a contextual introduction and editorial notes on the play by Christian Hogsbjerg, and selected essays and letters by James and others.


 Cyril Lionel Robert James (4 January 1901–19 May 1989) 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 Boissière, Albert Gomes and Alfred Mendes, James was a member of the anti-colonialist Beacon Group, a circle of writers associated with The Beacon magazine.


Christian Høgsbjerg is a historian who lectures at Leeds Metropolitan University.



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






Zeno's Picks

New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books

Recent items from nybooks.com
  • Scrubbing Poland’s Complicated Past
    There is nothing so reminiscent of Communist-era censorship culture as the coercive, patronizing ideological commentaries with which cultural officials of the Law and Justice party have in the last few years been responding to books, plays, and...
  • Homo Orbánicus
    Paul Lendvai, a Hungarian-Austrian journalist who spent several decades reporting on Central Europe for the Financial Times, has written a highly illuminating biography of Viktor Orbán, whom he calls “the ablest and most controversial...
  • Raised by Wolves
    In some instances, the dog–human relationship can be deep—some would argue as deep as that between two humans. But do humans and dogs think in similar ways? Until recently the question seemed unanswerable.
  • The Popular Connoisseur
    James Stourton’s magnificent biography tells the story of Kenneth Clark’s life in all its complexity and contradiction. It also reminds us that in his time Clark himself developed an innovative method for studying works of art—one that struck a...
  • Israel’s War on Culture
    Like many in the ruling coalition, the Culture Minister Miri Regev is openly against the establishment of a Palestinian state and has proposed annexing parts of the West Bank. She curries favor well with voters, in part because she fuses her...
  • Clarification
    To the Editors: In my article "Dereliction of Duty?" [NYR, March 22], I originally noted that former National Security Council Senior Director for Intelligence Ezra Cohen-Watnick reportedly was involved in a controversial incident...
  • The New Military-Industrial Complex of Big Data Psy-Ops
    Once Cambridge Analytica and SCL had won contracts with the State Department and were pitching to the Pentagon, the whistleblower Christopher Wylie became alarmed that this illegally-obtained data had ended up at the heart of government, along with...
  • Desexing the Kinsey Institute
    The Kinsey Institute's new director Sue Carter was an unusual choice. Although she is the first biologist to head up the institute since Kinsey himself, her career has focused on rodents. Perhaps tellingly, Carter's research on vole monogamy has...
  • Desolation Row
    Lorca’s early poems are filled with elemental things, like a Miró painting—night, star, moon, bird—but they come with edges of strangeness and menace, like a Dalí painting—clock, knife, death, dream. He is never interested in just describing a...


The Neglected Books Page

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • Reissuing the Works of R. V. Cassill – An Interview with Orin Cassill
    A few years ago, Orin Cassill, son of novelist and short story writer R. V. Cassill, contacted me after I began writing about the pulp novels his father wrote back in the 1950s and early 1960s. At the time, he was working to reissue some of his father’s novels and short story collections–a project that... Read more
  • The Intellectual Lover and Other Stories, by David Freedman (1940)
    I have such hopes for The Intellectual Lover and other Stories, a collection of short stories written by David Freedman, a Romanian Jew who emigrated to the U.S. as a toddler, proved a prodigy at chess, and, after graduating from City College, became one of the most successful writers of jokes, sketches, and other material... Read more
  • The Weekend Man, by Richard B. Wright (1970)
    There’s a sure-fire way to improve your chances of having your work ignored by English-reading audiences: Be Canadian. Even if your work is published in the U.S. and gets enthusiastic reviews, you have a better chance of joining the ranks of Richard B. Wright than those of the few exceptions to the rule, such as... Read more
  • Digging for Mrs. Miller, by John Strachey (1941)
    Digging for Mrs. Miller (1941) illustrates how, in the right hands, simple, undramatic, and limpid prose can have a stunning impact. Originally published as Post D in England, Digging for Mrs. Miller is John Strachey’s thinly-fictionalized account of his experiences working as an air raid warden during the most intense months of the Blitz in... Read more
  • Faces of Philip: A Memoir of Philip Toynbee, by Jessica Mitford (1984)
    Jessica Mitford describes Faces of Philip: A Memoir of Philip Toynbee as “A record of events, not purporting to be a complete history, but treating of such matters as come within the personal knowledge of the writer, or are obtained from certain particular sources of information.” With such a qualification, one can excuse the fact... Read...
  • Mr. Eliot and Wystan, from As I Walked Down New Grub Street, by Walter Allen (1981)
    I have always thought of him as Mr. Eliot. When I went to London I ran into people who referred to him as Tom Eliot: I soon realised this did not always mean that they had met him. I saw him many times, so often indeed that it seemed to me that ifyou had your... Read more
  • I, Too, Have Lived in Arcadia, by Marie Belloc-Lowndes (1941)
    In the last summer of my mother’s life, I was sitting with her on the little lawn of her cottage in Sussex, when she said suddenly, “I feel it is wrong to repine as life goes on, for I can always say to myself, ‘I, too, have lives in Arcadia.” She must have seen that... Read more
  • If Hopes Were Dupes, by Catherine York (Pseudonym of Ann Farrer) (1966)
    Reading Jessica Mitford’s memoir of the critic, novelist, and poet Philip Toynbee, The Faces of Philip (1984), I stumbled across a mention of a book that turns out not only to be neglected but (at the moment) unattainable outside a couple dozen libraries: Ann Farrer’s 1966 memoir of her struggles with depression and the relatively... Read...
  • Lord, I Was Afraid, by Nigel Balchin (1947)
    I have a mild fascination with unreadable books. Mild because I often lack the courage or persistence to take them on, fascination because I often have the nagging sense that I should. By “unreadable,” I don’t mean truly unreadable, like the book of Pi to the millionth digit or whatever length it is, but dauntingly... Read more
  • Fido Couchant, by P. B. Abercrombie (1961)
    I’ve reached the point where I’m no longer surprised to find that even after decades of looking for neglected books, I can still stumble across completely unfamiliar books and authors. A perfect example is P. B. (short for Patricia Barnes) Abercrombie, who wrote about eight novels, most of them comedies, between the early 1950s and... Read more
Copyright © 2018 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.