Cover image for Out there : mavericks of Black literature
Out there : mavericks of Black literature
Pinckney, Darryl, 1953-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : BasicCivitas Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiv, 160 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
"The Alain LeRoy Locke Lectures."
J. A. Rogers -- Vincent O. Carter -- Caryl Phillips.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS366.A35 P46 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



With this appreciation of three very different black writers, novelist Darryl Pinckney reminds us that marginal or neglected literary figures have a lot to tell us about the history of a people who are always "outsiders." Born in Jamaica in 1883, J. A. Rogers was an early member of the Harlem Renaissance--a newspaper columnist, historian of Negro achievement, polemicist against white supremacy, and amateur sociologist of interracial sex as evidenced in his massive three-volume work Sex andRace. Vincent O. Carter, who came of age in 1920's Kansas City, wrote The Bern Book, an exploration of being black in a Swiss rather than an American setting. Caryl Phillips, a son of the generation of black Caribbeans who returned to Great Britain after the Second World War, has explored the psychology of migration in fiction and nonfiction that include The Final Passage, Higher Ground, and The Nature of Blood. Pinckney's essays on these writers, drawn from his Alain Locke Lectures at Harvard University, give us a rich understanding of what it has meant to be "children of the diaspora" over the past century.

Author Notes

Darryl Pinckney is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction and author of the novel High Cotton and of the texts for Robert Wilson's productions of The Forest, Orlando, and Time Rocker. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and many other periodicals. He lives in Oxford, England.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Pinckney's work is based on a series of presentations at Harvard's Dubois Institute. He focuses on three black writers of varied backgrounds but with a common fixation that reveals their alienated consciousness: J. A. Rogers, Jamaican-born journalist popular in the 1930s and 1940s and noted for his work Sex and Race; Vincent O. Carter, who moved to Switzerland to write in the 1950s; and Caryl Phillips, of Caribbean heritage but raised in England, the most contemporary writer of the group. Rogers undercut the foundation of white supremacy by exposing the myth of a pure white race. Carter's only published work, The Bern Book, involves his travels and stay in postwar Europe. He focuses on his personal attempt to assimilate in Europe while becoming alienated from Africa and Pan-Africanism. Phillips returned to his West Indian roots and developed a cultural consciousness that has an African American diaspora slant. Each author is unique in reflecting his own period while confronting Europe and its role in the African diaspora. Vernon Ford.

Library Journal Review

In three essays based on lectures given at Harvard, Pinckney, author of the novel High Cotton, examines writers J.A. Rogers, Vincent O. Carter, and Caryl Phillips. Pinckney has succeeded in creating an engaging study of three black writers who could not be more different. Rogers, born in Jamaica, was a journalist involved with the Harlem Renaissance. Carter, born in Missouri, moved to Switzerland in the 1950s to write but published only one work, The Bern Book: A Record of the Voyage of a Mind. Phillips, who has written both fiction and nonfiction, immigrated during infancy from the Caribbean to postwar Britain. Despite the authors' diverse backgrounds, their writing shares a common theme of "an obsessive's solitary journey," and they all recount tales of "alienated consciousness." The essay about Carter is particularly remarkable, as one learns of his struggles to write and acclimate in a city where he is the only black man. As an Afro European, Phillips discovered his desire to write only after a trip to America. These essays leave the reader wanting to learn more. Alas, there is no bibliography, but the book is still highly recommended for all academic libraries and large public libraries. Erica Swenson Danowitz, American Univ. Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.