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Claude McKay's Liberating Narrative

Russian and Anglophone Caribbean Literary Connections

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Tatiana A. Tagirova-Daley

Claude McKay’s Liberating Narrative: Russian and Anglophone Caribbean Literary Connections examines McKay’s search for an original form of literary expression that started in Jamaica and continued in his subsequent travels abroad. Newly found research pertaining to his presence in several Russian periodicals, magazines, and literary diaries brings new light to the writer’s contribution to the Soviet understanding of African American and Caribbean issues and his possible influence on Yevgeny Zamyatin, the writer he met during his 1922 - 1923 visit to Russia. The primary focus of this book is Claude McKay and his positive reception of Alexander Pushkin, Feodor Dostoyevsky, and Leo Tolstoy, the nineteenth-century Russian writers who influenced his literary career and enabled him to find a solution to his dilemma of a dual Caribbean identity. The secondary focus of this book is the analysis of McKay’s affinity with his Russian literary predecessors and with C.L.R. James and Ralph de Boissière, his Trinidadian contemporaries, who also acknowledged the importance of Russian writers in their artistic development. The book discusses McKay as a precursor of Russian and Anglophone Caribbean links and presents a comparative analysis of cross-racial, cross-national, and cross-cultural alliances between these two distinct yet similar types of literature. Claude McKay’s Liberating Narrative is highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate courses in Caribbean and comparative literature at North American, European, Caribbean, and African universities.