Denis Williams, painter, teacher, novelist, archaeologist, and cultural administrator, is one of the founding fathers of modern Guyana. His involvement in several of the country’s key cultural institutions and his pioneering work on Guyana’s founding peoples ensures him a special place in the country’s history books. Williams also contributed to the outpouring of literature that accompanied the awakening consciousness of Caribbean nations and their drive for independence. His literary work is seminal in depicting the character of the Caribbean person and landscape, and the nature of ancestral (African and Afro-Caribbean) identities. His studies of African art and culture encouraged the young nation of Guyana to turn away from Western epistemologies and to pay serious intellectual attention to other origins. His research into the archaeology and culture of the Amerindian population of Guyana and beyond laid the pathway for further scholarship.
The essays assembled here bring together eminent scholars and commentators to offer authoritative analyses of the various aspects of Williams’s work – artistic, academic, and literary – and capture the rationale for, the interconnections between, and the evident trajectory of Williams’s life work as the epitome of the changing nature of the Caribbean condition. As well as wide-ranging biographical essays, and studies of Williams’s activities as a painter, the collection contains a comprehensive primary and secondary bibliography, a generous selection of colour plates, and individual essays devoted to the published novels (Other Leopards; The Third Temptation) and other published and unpublished fiction, and to Williams’s archaeological masterpiece, Prehistoric Guiana.
Contributors: Ulli Beier, Vibert Cambridge, David Dabydeen, Charles Gore, Stanley Greaves, Wilson Harris, Louis James, Andrew Jefferson–Miles, Nicholas Laughlin, Andrew Lindsay, John Picton, Leon Wainwright, Anne Walmsley, Charlotte Williams, Evelyn A. Williams, Jennifer Wishart.