Publishing the Postcolonial
Anglophone West African and Caribbean Writing in the UK 1948-1968
By Gail Low
Routledge – 2011 – 182 pages
This book explores how writers such as Amos Tutuola, George Lamming, Samuel Selvon, VS Naipaul, Chinua Achebe, Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, and Wole Soyinka came to be published in London in important educational series such as the Three Crown Series and African Writers Series. Low takes account of recent debates in the discipline of book history, especially issues that deal with social, cultural, and economic questions of authorship, publishing histories, canon formation, and the production, distribution and reception of texts in the literary market place. Searching publishing archives for readers reports, editorial correspondence, and interventions, this book represents a necessary exploration of postwar publishing contexts and the dissemination of texts from London that is crucial to literary histories of the postcolonial book. Taken together as a postwar generation, this cohort of now canonical writers helped "imagine" their respective national communities, yet their intellectual labors entered an elite transnational literary circuit, and correspondingly, were transformed into textual commodities by the economic, social, cultural, and institutional transactions that were part of an expanding print capitalism.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1: "The natural artist": Amos Tutuola or Faber and Faber’s The Palm-Wine Drinkard? 2: "Profitable and politically expedient?": Oxford University Press and the Three Crowns Series 1962-76 3: "In pursuit of literary gold": HEB and the African Writers’ Series 1962-67 4: The Pleasures of Exile: Publishing West Indian Writing in Postwar Britain 5: The Magic of Books: Authorship, Cultural and Symbolic Capital Notes Bibliography Index
Gail Low teaches contemporary writing and publishing in English at the University of Dundee. She has co-edited A Black British Canon? and is the author of White Skins/Black Masks: Representation and Colonialism (Routledge, 1996).