The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes 1897-1991


The Portuguese creole author Alfred H. Mendes (1897-1991) was the most important member of the Beacon Group of writers in Trinidad in the 1930s, along with C. L. R. James and Ralph de Boissiere. He is well known as a writer of short stories and for two novels, Pitch Lake and Black Fauns, and was made an honorary D. Litt. by the University of the West Indies in 1972 for his contribution to the development of West Indian literature. Mendes's memories of life in the colony in the early twentieth century, his experiences as a rifleman in the Great War, and his brief but intense sojourn in New York City during the Depression are an invaluable resource for scholars. But "Alfy" Mendes had other sides as well: civil servant in British colonial Trinidad, businessman who traveled regularly throughout the West Indies and, especially, family man. His autobiography offers a unique private perspective of the man behind a popular West Indian personality. Levy has annotated the work, written an introduction to place the writer in his time and his place in West Indian literature and compiled a bibliography of his works. Of interest to students of West Indian literature and postcolonial studies.

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