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Abstract

This essay examines an understudied moment in George Lamming’s career: his guest editorship of New World Quarterly’s Barbados independence issue in 1966. With a reputation for writing difficult, dense fiction, Lamming has faced criticism from both fellow authors and literary scholars for the incompatibility of esoteric literature with working-class Caribbean readers. But in the Barbados independence issue of New World Quarterly, Lamming includes excerpts from two of his novels, In the Castle of My Skin and Of Age and Innocence. I examine these excerpts, as well as the special Barbados issue more generally, alongside Lamming’s fiction to show how independence offered the writer an opportunity to refashion his project as a novelist. Given how the unit of the excerpt embraces accessibility and multiplicity, I argue that Lamming’s editorship of New World Quarterly illuminates an important way in which he sought to adapt his work for local readers on the occasion of independence.

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