W. Adolphe Roberts
W. Adolphe Roberts (1886-1962) was a prolific writer – poet, novelist, journalist, historian. As a political activist he also laid the groundwork for Jamaican independence. Finally published, fifty-two years after his death, his autobiography, These Many Years, offers a representative Caribbean life: rural upbringing, precocious talent, travel to United States, literary success, adventures across the world, involvement in politics, return to Jamaica.
In New York Roberts worked as a journalist and editor. However, in the mid-1930s, he made contact with Jamaican activists in Harlem and launched the Jamaica Progressive League, pioneering the movement for self-government. Moving back to Jamaica, Roberts decided against a political career, dedicating himself to studying the region and writing books such as The Caribbean: The Story of Our Sea of Destiny and Six Great Jamaicans: Biographical Sketches.
Robert’s zestful account of his literary life, his open recollection of his many lovers, and his frank assessment of his political friends and enemies, including Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante, make These Many Years a vital source for the Jamaican national story.
PETER HULME is Professor, Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex, United Kingdom. His publications include Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492-1797; Remnants of Conquests: The Caribs and Their Visitors, 1877-1998; and Cuba’s Wild East: A Literary Geography of Oriente.
Co-published with the National Library of Jamaica.