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“Now it’s all simple:” Ideology and Solidarity in McKay’s Romance in Marseille

Reilly Flynn

Survival strategy, or an individual’s chosen method of living with dignity and security in an oppressive social order, can be viewed as a reflection of identity. Claude McKay’s recently published 1932 novel Romance in Marseille presents a wide variety of survival strategies practiced by many diasporic Africans. These characters hail from a variety of backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, and disability statuses, but they are nevertheless united by common class conditions. Through this, solidarity and shared ideology emerge. Solidarity is crucially an important revolutionary force, but it is not infallible. With an eye on manifestations of ideology and identity in a post-colonial Europe, Claude McKay’s Romance in Marseille demonstrates the degree to which solidarity and survival strategies are responses to the shared material conditions of post-colonial blackness.