Creole Chips and Other Writings: Short Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Essays
This compendium of Edgar Mittelholzer's mostly uncollected writings brings together his early collection of sketches of Georgetown life, Creole Chips, his speculative novella, The Adding Machine, twenty-four short stories, five plays, his published and unpublished poetry and essays covering travel, literature and his personal beliefs.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 some of 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.
Edgar Mittelholzer
Juanita Cox
ISBN number
Fiction, Short Stories
Country setting
Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom
Publication date
20 Feb 2018

Old friends recall Edgar Mittelholzer pursuing them on the streets of New Amsterdam to sell them copies of his self-published collection of sketches of Guyanese life, Creole Chips. This was in 1937, long before he began the 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, mostly Caribbean-based Mittelholzer: the strikingly speculative anti-capitalist 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 often witty 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 In addition, this collection gives access to unpublished material, seen only by the most assiduous researcher, including essays that express Mittelholzer’s ideas about Caribbean writing and his philosophy of life.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 show that in this form, at this time, 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.

Children's Story: Poolwana's Orchids. 

Drama: The Sub-Committee, Before the Curtain Rose, Village in Guyana, Boarderline Buisness, The Twisted Man. 

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.


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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Juanita Cox

Editor Juanita Cox has a PhD on the novels of Edgar Mittelholzer and taught at the University of North London. She is currently a self-employed literary critic and producer of a monthly community forum, Guyana Speaks (UK).
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