Synopses & Reviews
C. L. R. James's The Black Jacobins remains one of the great works of the twentieth century and the cornerstone of Haitian Revolutionary studies. In Making "The Black Jacobins" Rachel Douglas traces the genesis, transformation, and afterlives of James's landmark work across the decades from the 1930s onwards. Examining the 1938 and 1963 editions of The Black Jacobins, the 1967 play of the same name, and his 1936 play Toussaint Louverture--as well as manuscripts, notes, interviews, and other texts--Douglas shows how, from the early 1930s to his death in 1989, James continuously rewrote and revised his history of the Haitian Revolution as his politics and engagement with Marxism evolved. She also points to the vital significance theater played in James's work and how it influenced his views of history. Douglas shows The Black Jacobins to be a palimpsest; its successive layers of rewriting renewing its call to new generations.