Review of Christian Høgsbjerg, ed., C.L.R. James, Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History
Until recently, one little-known fact about C.L.R. James's famous Haitian revolution-based The Black Jacobins project was that it both began and ended life as a play, bookending the first and last editions of his classic history. It would be hard to overstate the importance of Christian Høgsbjerg's new critical edition of C.L.R. James's Toussaint Louverture because it makes widely available in published form for the first time the script of the elusive first play. For want of this playtext util 2013, James's completely different 1967 second play The Black Jacobins had been read as the 1936 play, and even billed as such when published. Inspired by the critical edition of Toussaint Louverture, I comment on a set of fascinating variants made in James's own distinctive hand to one script of the first play.