Guyanese academic Gordon Rohlehr dies

Last Updated on Monday, 30 January 2023, 11:03 by Writer

Professor Gordon Rohlehr

Emeritus Professor at Trinidad’s St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Guyana-born Gordon Rohlehr has died, plunging the academic and arts community into mourning.

He was 80 years old.

Former UWI International Relations Professor, Mark Kirton reflected on the life of Dr Rohlehr. “I knew of his work and of his achievements as an alumnus of QC (Queen’s College) and met him while I worked at UWI St. Augustine Trinidad. He was an authority on West Indian literature and the calypso. He was a true academic and professional, always willing to offer advice and guidance to young scholars and students,” Dr Kirton, a Guyanese, told Demerara Waves Online News.

Professor Rohlehr’s cause of death was not immediately known.

Unquestionably one of the Caribbean’s finest critics and thinkers, his territory covers both literature and popular culture, particularly calypso.

He graduated in 1964 from the University College of the West Indies, Jamaica, with a First Class Honours degree in English Literature, after which he wrote a doctoral dissertation titled “Alienation and Commitment in the Works of Joseph Conrad” at Birmingham University, England (1964-1967).

His publications include: Pathfinder: Black Awakening in “The Arrivants” of Edward Kamau Brathwaite (Tunapuna: College Press, 1981); Cultural Resistance and the Guyana State (Casa de las Américas, 1984); Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad (Port of Spain, 1990); My Strangled City and Other Essays (Longman Trinidad, 1992); The Shape of That Hurt and Other Essays (Longman Trinidad, 1992); A Scuffling of Islands: Essays on Calypso (Lexicon Trinidad Ltd, 2004); Transgression, Transition, Transformation: Essays in Caribbean Culture (Lexicon, 2007); Ancestories: Readings of Kamau Brathwaite’s “Ancestors” (Trinidad: Lexicon, 2010) and My Whole Life is Calypso: Essays on Sparrow (2015).