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CLR James Cricket Research Centre



 New York Amsterdam News

This year, 2023 marks the 60th Anniversary of Beyond A Boundary by CLR James. As we celebrate this significant milestone, we look back to honour CLR James for this ground breaking work that captures the  essence of cricket and life in the West Indies during the colonial era. 
 CLR James, cultural historian and political activist, in Beyond A Boundary, gives a social history of cricket in the West Indies, articulating the role cricket played in his life and the life of the Trinidadian people living under British rule. Early great Trinidadian and West Indies players who would have been long forgotten, such as George John, Wilton St. Hill and Victor Pascall have survived within the pages of Beyond A Boundary.  It explores cricket as an art form, discusses the role played by W.G. Grace in the development of cricket, the impact of race and class in early West Indies cricket, the growing tensions which were observed within the wider society and the political campaign that led to the  appointment of Frank Worrell, the first black captain, to lead the West  Indies cricket team in 1960. 
In the preface of the book, CLR James challenges us when he posed the immortal question, “What do they know of cricket, who only cricket know?” This question lingers on!   
CLR James’ Beyond A Boundary was originally titled, “Cricket Crusaders” by its publishers, a shift away from James’ working title, “What do they know of cricket, who only cricket know?” The book was finished by 1960, but James struggled to find a publisher. It was offered for publication to  notable publishers in England and it was rejected.  With the help of George Lamming, the title was changed to Beyond The Boundary. The publisher changed the definite article “The” to “A.” It was suggested that “the” challenges all boundaries, not just cricket’s.  The manuscript was printed by Stanley Paul and published by Hutchinson &  Company, London, 1963.   
The original manuscript of Beyond A Boundary travelled to Africa after the first publication in 1963 and the second edition in 1964 to help raise funds for the Nelson Mandela relief campaign. It eventually landed in the hands of a Jewish businessman who subsequently offered it for auction at Sotheby’s in London. In 2006, Sir Hilary Beckles, Principal of the Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies, was in London at the time and was alerted by George Lamming that the original manuscript of Beyond A Boundary was being auctioned the following morning. Sir Hilary Beckles negotiated the acquisition of the manuscript which is now housed at the CLR James Cricket Research Centre, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.  
Today, Beyond A Boundary continues to be recognized for its enduring power to raise questions and continue to generate contemporary reactions, even sixty years after it was published.
This exhibition highlights CLR James’ manuscript of Beyond A Boundary. The manuscript features original hand written notes and typescript drafts. Read manuscript (PDF) »


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