by C L R James
You Don’t Play With Revolution collects seven never-before-published lectures by Marxist cultural critic C.L.R. James, delivered during his stay in Montréal in 1967-1968. Ranging in topic from Marx and Lenin to Shakespeare and Rousseau to Caribbean history and the Haitian Revolution, these lectures demonstrate the staggering breadth and clarity of James’ knowledge and interest.
Little information exists in print on the critical period James spent working with West Indian intellectuals and students in Canada in the late 1960s; this collection highlights the themes we have come to associate with James’ critical project and situates them in a new light. Readers just beginning to delve into James’ work will find this collection accessible and engaging, an ideal introduction to a complex and multi-faceted body of scholarship. Editor David Austin has also included two seminal interviews produced with James during his stay in Canada, and a series of letters James exchanged with the West Indian university students who made these lectures possible.
You Don’t Play With Revolution also includes an introduction by Robert A. Hill, co-founder of the C.L.R. James Study Circle and historical advisor to the new James archive at Columbia University.
C.L.R. James (1901-1989) was born in Trinidad and was a prominent anti-colonial scholar and cultural critic throughout his life. With Grace Lee and Raya Dunayevskaya, he helped define and popularize the autonomist Marxist tradition in the United States and Canada.
David Austin is founder and trustee of the Alfie Roberts Institute, an independent research institute based in Montréal.