John Thieme

Socialist Classic

Crown Jewel

By

Allison & Busby 361pp. £6.95 order from our bookshop

The story surrounding the composition and publication of Crown Jewel affords an interesting example of changing literary taste in the last half century. Its author, a Trinidadian of French Creole descent, originally began writing the novel in 1935. He was a member of the island’s ‘Beacon Group’, which may lay claim to having produced the most significant body of West Indian writing prior to the literary renaissance of the 1950s, and, like other members of this group (C.L.R. James in Minty Alley and Alfred Mendes in Pitch Lake). Ralph de Boissière set about writing a novel which charted the course of the liberal intellectual’s growing involvement with the black populace.

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