A Cultural and Literary History


David Howard

ISBN : 978-190-2669-37-3

History Cities of the Imagination Other Distributed Titles

December 2005

280 pages, 5.25″ x 8″

For sale in Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR only

  • HK$175.00

Kingston wrestles with the enduring legacy of colonial rags and riches, recent episodes of political strife and the occasional outburst of modern-day turf rivalry. Formerly the hub of Britain’s Caribbean Empire, the Jamaican capital provides an intriguing cauldron of political, social and cultural excitement as one of the region’s great cities.

The dangerous domain of local Dons forms but a small part of Kingston’s complex and vital presence, which extends far beyond the city’s tenement yards and harbor walls. Proud of their city’s renown as the birthplace of reggae and dancehall, Kingstonians have led the world in innovative music and performance art. The bristling edge of everyday life has proven fertile ground for a profusion of literary and cultural wealth ­ poets, writers, musicians and artists flow from the creative reservoirs of this rough-and-ready, savvy cityscape.

David Howard charts a course through the city’s offerings, from the stark divisions between uptown modernity and downtown’s swashbuckling past, to the lively interweaving of local legends and international popular culture.

THE CITY OF PIRATES AND COLONIAL POWER: “the wickedest city in Christendom” and an almighty earthquake; buccaneers and admirals; bustling port tales and architectural treasures.

THE CITY OF STREET LIFE: tenement yards and markets; political “garrisons” and off-limits areas, higglers and Carnival; the divided world of suburbs and ghettos.

THE CITY OF URBAN BEAT: musical maestros, dancehall queens and performance poets; “yard” fiction, sculpture and painting.

David Howard is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh and has lived and worked in the Caribbean.

“ . . . always entertaining and fascinating. This should be required reading . . . ” —Sunday Times