Selected Writings of Alfred H. Mendes

Selected Writings of Alfred H. Mendes

Edited by Michèle Levy

by Alfred H. Mendes

332 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in

  • Paperback
  • 9789766403225
  • Published: October 2013



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.