Journaling and Journeying. For Lloyd, writing and living was as simple as that.
It was gift enough for him to be of this place, and of this time, with a new world in the making. His ecstasy knew no bounds and his passion brooked no rest. It would become his magnificent obsession, this Caribbean, a world awaiting discovery and recognition by its own.
If inspiration could be traced back into time, it might be said that the New World journals were inspired at least five years before the first edition appeared in Georgetown, Guyana in 1963. Back in 1957-58, Lloyd was a graduate student at Oxford, reveling in daily communion over lunch with William Demas and Stuart Hall, the latter then actively involved in editing Universities and Left Review. Thereafter, the idea of publishing as an intellectual intervention in society, economy and politics would never leave Lloyd. Later, in Paris in 1961-62, all abuzz in the political ideas of the time, Lloyd became enthralled by the role and impact of such newspapers and news magazines as Le Monde and L’Express.
For him, journalism was the medium most appropriate to intellectual inquiry and engagement in the Caribbean. He eschewed books as being too final and too finite in this new world where every answer merely opened the way to new questions.
“I have a sense that what we’re doing has been and still is in the making, and I don’t think it should be put in a form that is definitive…. We’re now writing a theory of society and a theory of the economy that is very frail, very fragile because these things cannot be read in any book; they have to reveal themselves,” he said in an interview published in “The Thought of New World”. (Ed. Brian Meeks and Norman Girvan).
There was also, for him, the ideological issue of independent and indigenous publishing. “If we don’t make our own journals here and make them reputable, what will happen to our university? We have to found our own journals and how will we get reputable if we don’t write for them and put our stuff in them and then get known on that basis?” It was the question he put to the principal of UWI, Mona, Arthur Lewis, who wanted to know why the young scholar was not busying himself writing and publishing in reputable journals abroad. (The Thought of New World, Ed. Brian Meeks and Norman Girvan).
It was inevitable, therefore, that the New World Group which Lloyd founded with David De Caires, Miles Fitzpatrick and others in Guyana in 1962 would graduate into publishing with the birth of the New World journal in March 1963, as an intellectual intervention in Caribbean affairs. In the years that followed, Lloyd would write thousands of columns and papers, most of which were published under the aegis of the publishing house he began at what is today known as the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies.
The online library of New World journals joins the Tapia collection at the Digital Library of the Caribbean, and other collections, as important resources in Caribbean thought and action and sources of inspiration for new generations.
We all owe a great debt to Jasmine, Alexander and Alatashe for their commitment to bringing this New World project to life and to seeing Norman’s wish to realisation. There is no truer expression of the New World spirit than such selfless service to the Caribbean.