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February 24, 2020 at 8:03 am

Jamaica Observer Writes about Holcomb, Claude McKay’s ‘Romance in Marseille’

Dr. Gary Holcomb, p[ortrait

Dr. Gary Holcomb

The Jamaica Observer writes about Dr. Gary Holcomb’s discovery and publishing of  Claude McKay’s Romance in Marseille.

A pivotal figure of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s, Jamaican-born Claude McKay was as provocative as Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, and other major players in arguably black intelligentsia’s most exciting period. Seventy-two years after his death, a book deemed controversial for its time has been released.

Romance in Marseille, which the Jamaican wrote 90 years ago, was released on February 10 by Penguin Classics. It is inspired by the subculture of the eastern French city McKay visited.

The book’s hero is Lafala, a West African sailor who loses his legs to frostbite after stowing away on a ship to the United States. Though his resilience allows him to overcome his disabilities, it is Lafala’s inner circle of radicals, gays and prostitutes, that makes Romance in Marseille an intriguing read.

Gary Holcomb, a McKay scholar and professor of African American literature and studies at Ohio University, co-wrote the book’s introduction. He was also instrumental in getting it published after years of legal obstacles.,,,

Read more in the Observer.

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