C.L.R. James on the Secret of Hegel's Dialectic

Why the popularity of the Western? Because young people who sit cramped in buses and tied to assembly lines terribly wish they could be elsewhere. . . . Like all art, but more than most, the movies are not merely a reflection, but an extension of the actual—an extension along the lines which people feel are lacking and possible in the actual. That, my dear, is the complete secret of Hegelian dialectic. The two, the actual and the potential, are always inseparably linked; one is always giving way to the other. At a certain stage a crisis takes place and a complete change is the result.

— from a letter to Constance Webb, September 1, 1943, in: The C.L.R. James Reader, edited by Anna Grimshaw (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), p. 129.

Quote submitted by Ralph Dumain and published in The Owl of Minerva [Journal of The Hegel Society of America], Volume 26, Number 2, Spring 1995, p.242.


C.L.R. James on the (Post)Modern Intellectual & the Division of Labor (1950)

C.L.R. James on Descartes & the Division of Labor

C.L.R. James on West Indian Writers vs. T.S. Eliot & Jean-Paul Sartre: the New World & the Old

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100 Years of C.L.R. James


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