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Musings, Mazes, Muses, Margins

Rohlehr breaks new ground with this powerful and affecting dream-memoir...

Gordon Rohlehr
Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana
Date published
16 Apr 2020

Parallel to his career as one of the Caribbean's formest literary and cultural critics, famed for his meticulous documentation of the relationship between art and social reality, Gordon Rohlehr has also been documenting his inner dreaming life. In doing this he reveals both himself and the undertones of Caribbean social and political life. We discover there is not one Rohlehr, but three: Daniel the dreamer, Frederick the evader and Gordon, who tries to hold the ring between these personae. In the dreams that pass through Daniel, there are not merely vivid representation of the kinds of images that Freud suggested were in some way universal, but narratives that go to the heart of Caribbean being in the counterflows between Africa and Europe and the freedom of the folk imagination meeting the buttoned-up closure of the respectable elite. Rohlehr writes of being the visionary child born with a caul over his face, and the attempts of a Eurocentric Black family and colonial school to beat that African vision out of him, passages that would be unbearably painful reading but for Rohlehr's characteristic balance and humour. Rohlehr's voice is utterly his own, but there are interesting connections to the work of Erna Brodber and Wilson Harris.

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Gordon Rohlehr

Gordon Rohlehr is Emeritus Professor at the University of the West Indies at St Augustine. Unquestionably one of the Caribbean’s finest critics and thinkers, his territory covers both literature and popular culture, particularly Calypso.

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