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Earl Lovelace Biography

(1935– ), While Gods Are Falling, The Schoolmaster, The Dragon Can't Dance

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Earl Lovelace Biography to Madmen and Specialists

West Indian novelist and playwright, born in Trinidad, where he studied agriculture. His first novel, While Gods Are Falling (1965), shows acute awareness of the economic deprivation and cultural fragmentation caused by colonialism in Trinidad. The Schoolmaster (1968), set in a remote Trinidadian village, considers the same subject through a story of suspense, violation, disintegration, and reintegration. His third novel, The Dragon Can't Dance (1979), is again concerned with colonial damage and efforts at rehabilitation; it was adapted as a play by the author and performed in London in 1990. The Wine of Astonishment (1982) confirmed Lovelace's skill for creating plots with vigorous action, much suspense, and a rather melodramatic denouement. Altogether Lovelace's fiction is notable for its persistent commentary on the poverty, disorganization, and inertia caused by colonialism. All four novels also demonstrate the need for stable communities, and focus on psychological rehabilitation or the quest for selfhood, asserting values that have been discredited by colonial history. Jestina's Calypso and Other Plays (1984) collects Lovelace's work for the theatre. He is also the author of A Brief Conversation and Other Stories (1988). Apart from brief travels in the USA and England, Lovelace has always lived in Trinidad.

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