Daily Archive for October 6th, 2011

Dr. Williams as a Man of Culture

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 06, 2011

If I turn into earth, water, grass,
Flower or fruit-if it comes to pass
I return to Earth in the animal class,
Why in the world should I care?
In the limitless bond wherever I pass,
A kinship is ever there.

Rabindranath Tagore, Of Myself

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeA few things before I start. First, although my original paper is 27 pages long in conformity with the instructions given, I have had to cut my paper down to fifteen pages so that you will forgive me if there are gaps in my presentation. Second, the title of my paper is taken from an essay that Dr. Williams offered at the Second Congress of Negro Writers and Artists that was held in Rome from March 26 to April 1, 1959, entitled “The Political Leader Considered as a Man of Culture.” Third. Although my original paper examines the former article and “Four Poets of the Greater Antilles,” I will look at Dr. William’s relationship to literature and his essays on Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranth Tagore, with an emphasis upon the latter. In the process, I would like to expand upon the Professor Rampersad’s observation that Dr. Williams, a man of letters, was “comfortable with literature, capable of invoking the words of Shakespeare and Dante and showing a greater familiarity with their works and the work of other eminent writers than one finds using the index to Bartlett’s Quotations.” In the process I also hope to put a dent into the silly allegation that Dr. Williams was a racist who did not like people of Indian descent.
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