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Abstract

The Lonely Londoners still stands as the classic story about Caribbean migration to the UK in the twentieth century. The purpose of this article is to uncover the literary forms which underwrite its status as a 'classic.' Selvon's writing is representative of an early colonial modernism, developing a particular style of diasporic realism, in which the dialectic of reality/unreality stands as decisive. This partly derives from literary form, and partly from the collective experience of migrant time. Central to ths is mode of representation is the Creolization of the linguistic structure of the anglophone novel-form itself, evident not only in The Londely Londoners but, in different form, in Selvon's short story, 'My Girl and the City.' Selvon's diasporic realism is contrasted to that of his contemporary, V.S. Naipaul who, in endeavouring to transcend his imagined location as a 'regional' writer, cut himself off from all that made Selvon's fiction transformative.

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