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Creole Chips and Other Writings: Short Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Essays, 1937-1954

This compendium of Edgar Mittelholzer's uncollected writings, compiled and edited by Juanita Cox, brings together his early collection of sketches of Georgetown life, Creole Chips, his speculative novella, The Adding Machine, twenty-four short stories, two short plays, his published and unpublished poetry and essays covering travel, literature and his personal beliefs. This is mostly work written before Mittelholzer came to England in search of publishing opportunities. It shows a writer still deeply concerned with the Caribbean, a writer of playful humour who is committed to entertain, not to preach as his later work tends to do, and a writer who wrote in a variety of genres (speculative fiction, crime, and the Gothic) that contemporary Caribbean writers are rediscovering.

£19.99

Author(s)
Edgar Mittelholzer, Juanita Cox
ISBN
9781845233006
Pages
360
Price
£19.99
Classification
Drama, Essays, Fiction, Novels, Poetry, Fiction, Short Stories
Setting
Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, United Kingdom
Date published
20 Feb 2018

Old friends recall Edgar Mittelholzer pursuing them on the streets of Georgetown to sell them copies of his self-published collection of sketches of Guyanese life, Creole Chips. This was in 1937, long before he began that sequence of novels that established him as a pioneer of Caribbean writing in the 1950s and 60s. This compendium, collected and introduced by Juanita Cox, brings together the early, Caribbean-based Mittelholzer: the strikingly speculative novella, The Adding Machine; the wealth of short stories published in journals such as Bim, Kyk-over-Al, Caribia and broadcast on the BBC Caribbean Voices programme; his witty short plays and the poetry that shows Mittelholzer to have been a much more modernist voice than much of the Caribbean poetry of those years. In addition, this collection gives access to unpublished material, seen only by the most assiduous researcher, including essays that express Mittelholzer’s ideas about Caribbean writing and his philosophy of life.

But beyond bringing a hidden, more rootedly Caribbean Mittelholzer into the light, Creole Chips and Other Writings offers a wealth of pleasurable and engrossing reading. There is a playful good humour that rather disappears from Mittelholzer’s later work, and the 24 short stories first collected here shows that in this form Mittelholzer had few rivals. Contemporary Caribbean writers have been establishing speculative fiction and the Gothic as new ways of exploring the complex realities of the region; Mittelholzer was there long before them. His work is full of ideas and psychological insights, but he never loses sight of his mission to tell good stories and entertain.

This compendium contains: Fiction: Creole Chips, The Adding Machine.

Short Stories: Miss Clarke is Dying, Something Fishy, Breakdown, Samlal, The Cruel Fate of Karl and Pierre, Jasmine and the Angels, West Indian Rights, The Pawpaw Tree, The Burglar, Tacama, We Know Not Whom to Mourn, Sorrow Dam and Mr Millbank, Mr Jones of Port of Spain, The Amiable Mr Britten, A Plague of Kindnesses, The Sibilant and Lost, Wedding Day, Portrait with a Background, Only a Ghost We’ll Need, Hurricane Season, Towards Martin’s Bay, Gerald, Heat in the Jungle, Herr Pfangle.

Drama: The Sub-Committee, Before the Curtain Rose.

Poetry: Colonial Artist in War-time, Afternoon Reflections, Death in Prospect, Evening at Staubles, Epithalamium, Farewell to a Woman, For Better things, Just between us, Mazaruni Rocks, Poet Creating, Reality at Midday, Remembrances, To the Memory of Ken Johnson, Mood of February 11th 1940, Reality, For Me – the Backyard, Dove on Gasparee, In the Beginning – Now – and Then, Pitch-walk Mood, Meditations of a Man, Slightly Drunk, The Virgin, October 7th, Island Tints.

Essays & Personal Writing: Of Casuarinas and Cliffs, Carnival Close-up, Christmas, Romantic Promenade, Van Batenberg of Berbice, Roger Mais, Literary Criticism and the Creative Writer, At 43, A Personal View of the World.

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Juanita Cox

Juanita Cox is of Guyanese parentage.

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Edgar Mittelholzer

Edgar Mittelholzer was born in British Guiana in 1909. He wrote more than twenty novels. He eventually settled in England, where he lived until his death in 1965, a suicide predicted in several of his novels.

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