“A Vagabond with a Purpose”: Claude McKay and His International Aspirations

Tatiana Tagirova-Daley,

Elizabeth City State University


The essay examines Jamaican-born poet and novelist Claude McKay ’s search for an original form of literary and political expression. Although he first started this search with Jamaican volumes of poetry, his ongoing search for justice and equality led him on extensive journeys around the world. In the course of which he also came to engage with non-English European literature and to view especially the Russian and Irish literary renaissances as possible models for the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s he had been involved in. Both his travels and his dealing with new literary influences enabled him to view the black diaspora from a wider perspective and from there from there renegotiate his Caribbean consciousness.

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