Alfred H. Mendes was a prominent member of the Beacon group of intellectuals whose aim in the 1930s was the development and promotion of a Trinidad-centred literature. He was a friend and colleague of the Beacon’s editor Albert Gomes, and of C.L.R. James and Ralph de Boissière.
Alfred. H. Mendes: Short Stories, Articles and Letters comprises thirteen stories, and articles and letters from the 1920s to the 1960s, including two letters to Mendes from the Trinidadian activist and pan-Africanist George Padmore. It is supported by an introduction, explanatory notes and a short glossary.
Six of the stories have never been published. They include two autobiographical stories set in New York City during the Great Depression. Mendes’s first foreign publication, “Lai John”, co-authored with fellow Beacon writer Algernon Wharton, appears here for the first time since 1930. It is the first of a number of stories which Mendes wrote about Chinese immigrants. There are also stories about East Indian, Spanish and Syrian characters, English expatriates, and Mendes’s own people, the Portuguese Creoles of Trinidad.
The articles and letters reflect the broad scope of Mendes’s interests and are lively, topical, carefully observed pieces, and like Mendes himself, frequently controversial.
Alfred H. Mendes lived and wrote at a vitally important time in the history of the Caribbean. His stories and journalism are his lasting legacy to its peoples.
When My Mother Was Left Alone
Young Da Costa
The Larsons at Home
Editorial Notes from Trinidad 1, no. 2
A Retort Courteous
They Are Artistes
The Significance of Mr Vassilieff
Art Takes Shape and Form in Trinidad at the Garret Galleries Exhibition
Letter to Dr David Pitt
Mr A.H. Mendes Resigns
Trinidad’s First Sculptor
Whitehall Group Make History with Their West Indian Plays
Black Dot Quintette Praised
Critic Defends His Opinion
Henry Hall’s English Play Has Definite Creole Flavour
Five Most Significant Artists Absent from Show at Royal Victoria Institute
Eric Cameron’s Watercolours Possess a Reflective Glow
Artist Retains Stirring Qualities: Alladin, Back from England, Shows Pieces Painted since His Return
Acting Port Services General Manager Eulogizes “C.P.”
Trinidad Art Society Exhibition: Two Cromwells
Letter to the Editor of the Trinidad Guardian
My Reply to Brother Griffin
Editorial: Life, Work and Success
Two Letters from George Padmore to Alfred H. Mendes
Glossary of Trinidadian Words and Phrases