Alfred H. Mendes
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.
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, two collections of Mendes’s short stories, and an anthology of his stories, poetry and journalism