Landeg White obituary

By Hugh Macmillan from the The Guardian.

My friend and former colleague Landeg White, who has died at his home in Portugal aged 77, was an academic and poet, one of the most versatile and prolific of the Africanists who began work in the post-independence era.

He was born in Taff’s Well, near Cardiff, the son of Reginald White, known as REO White, who became principal of the Scottish Baptist College, and Gwyneth (nee Landeg). After schooling at Rutherglen Academy in Lanarkshire and Birkenhead Institute on the Wirral, Landeg graduated in English from Liverpool University then began work teaching English literature at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, in 1964. A product of his time there was his critical introduction to the work of VS Naipaul (1975).

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The Global Poet

By Jugneeta Sudan from the The Navhind Times, December 2016.

In the cool confines of a room on the upper storey of Fundacao Oriente, I met Landeg White. A citizen of the world, he has taught in three continents and turned out a prodigious number of books of prose and poetry. He is in Goa presently to talk to audiences about his work and preoccupations of the last 50 years. Here are some excerpts from our conversation…More

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Remembering Landeg White

By Vivek Menezes from the Times of India.

Heart-wrenching news reached Goa earlier this week. The superb Lisbon-based translator and poet Landeg White succumbed after a mercifully brief battle with cancer. Over the past five years, the septuagenarian found an adoring audience in the subcontinent, focused in Goa. This was for his superb oeuvre of original poetry, but most especially for his work on the iconic “bard of Portugal”, Luís Vaz de Camões. Here, White pulled off an extraordinary achievement by meticulously repositioning the 16th century genius from his exalted status as “national poet” to seminal transnational artist. Even in his last days, the fatally stricken author put finishing touches on an immensely important work that he alone could have written. Camões: Made In Goa reshapes our understanding of cultural and intellectual history.

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Introduction to Camões: Made in Goa

The introduction to Camões: Made in Goa, a brand-new publication by Landeg White from Under the Peepal Tree press.

Camões arrived in India in November 1553, disembarking in Goa after a voyage of seven months. He arrived not as a Viceroy or Governor or Admiral, not as an authority figure of any kind, but as a convict soldier, sentenced to military service after being convicted of brawling in Lisbon. At the Corpus Christi festival in 1550, he had wounded a court official with a sword thrust, his subsequent prison sentence being commuted to a fine of 4,000 reis and three years military service in India.

It is hard to over-emphasis the scale of this personal disaster. Camões was 28, possibly 29 years of age. He was born into the lower ranks of the nobility, and all his ambitions had been focused on the Portuguese court, where he hoped his skills as a poet would secure him an appointment – the sixteenth century equivalent of a government job. The poems he wrote in pursuit of this were accomplished but conventional, versions of Petrarch whose sonnets in vernacular Italian had swept Europe with their celebrations of unrequited love, and pastoral eclogues featuring shepherdesses who were thinly disguised portraits of ladies at the Portuguese court. Suddenly, that ambition was shattered.

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Book Launch in Lisbon 6/10/2017 – Ultimatum (a novel by Landeg White)


A book launch for Landeg’s new novel Ultimatum at Ler Devegar bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal on the 6th October 2017 at 18:30.

This is a free event at one of Lisbon’s finest bookstores with a presentation by Rui Zink.

January, 1890 — Britain threatens Portugal with an Ultimatum: Abandon south-east Africa or face a naval bombardment of Lisbon.

Three centuries earlier, the poet, Luís Vaz de Camões, described the region at issue —

Behold the lake which is the Nile’s source.
And the green Zambezi, too, begins its course.

Further upstream, the river becomes serpentine, twisting itself into a vast swamp, known to Europeans as Elephant Marsh, choked with papyrus, monstrous baobabs, and marabou storks like coffins. Every mud bank has a gang of crocodiles, the air thick with mosquitoes and the nearest horizon a tousled fringe of swamp palms …

Could the European Powers go to War over such a Wilderness?

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