Selected Writings of Alfred H. Mendes

Alfred H. Mendes, Edited by Michèle Levy


2013 IndieFab Award Finalist, Essays (Adult Nonfiction)

Pages and Dimensions: 
264pp 6 x 9



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US$40 (s)

Alfred Hubert Mendes (1897–1991) was a member of the influential Beacon group of artists, writers and intellectuals in Trinidad in the 1930s. In common with other Beacon writers, including C.L.R. James and Ralph de Boissière, he set out to create a Trinidad-centred literature, and his extensive output of poetry, short stories, novels and journalism bears witness to his dedication to this goal. 

Selected Writings is an anthology of poetry, short fiction and journalism from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s which places Mendes’s literary development in the context of his life. It is accompanied by an introduction, appendices containing early letters to Mendes from C.L.R. James, Claude McKay, and the Canadian writer Hulbert Footner, explanatory notes, and a brief glossary of Trinidadian words and phrases. 

The sheer vitality of Mendes’s writing and the huge scope of his interests will attract both scholars and general readers keen to understand what life really was like in the early decades of the twentieth century, especially now, as Trinidad celebrates fifty years of independent self-government. Whereas Mendes’s poems and short stories tellingly illustrate the stresses of social life under colonial rule, the journalism contains much thought-provoking discussion of the development of a national identity and political maturity through his intensive examination of Trinidad’s cultural life.

Michèle Levy is an independent researcher and academic writer. She has taught at secondary and tertiary levels, and has tutored and lectured in the Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. She is the editor of The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes, 1897–1991 and of two collections of Mendes’s short stories: Pablo’s Fandango and Other Stories and The Man Who Ran Away and Other Stories of Trinidad in the 1920s and 1930s.