On behalf of the Mittelholzer family and for my own research purposes I am looking to acquire anything regarding Edgar Mittelholzer and older books about Guyana. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com
Illustrious Exile: Journal of my Sojourn in the West Indies by Robert Burns, Esq. Commenced on the first day of July 1786
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In 1786, the Scottish poet Robert Burns, penniless and needing to escape the consequences of his complicated love life, accepted the position of book-keeper on an estate in Jamaica. The success of his Poems chiefly in the Scottish Dialect made this escape unnecessary. Thus far is historical fact. In Andrew Lindsayâs novel, Burns indeed goes to Jamaica and then to the Dutch colony of Demerara where, into the world of sugar and slavery, he brought his propensity for falling in love, his humanity and his urge to write poetry. In 1997 a small mahogany chest is found in a Wai Wai Amerindian village in Guyana. It contains Burnsâ journal from 1786 to 1796, when he died.
Andrew Lindsayâs novel is a work of imaginative invention, poetic description and meticulous historical reconstruction. As a fellow Scot who has settled in Guyana, Lindsay brings an incomerâs fresh eye to the Caribbean landscape and imaginative insights into how Burns as a man of his times might have responded to slavery. Not least, Illustrious Exile contains some brilliant versions of Burnsâ poems, as written in the Caribbean.
About the Author
Andrew O. Lindsay was born in Scotland in 1946. He studied English at the University of St Andrews where he gained the degrees of MA and B.Phil. He spent his professional career at Madras College, St Andrews, much of the time as Principal Teacher of English. He was able to take early retirement in 2003, a move that allowed him to devote himself to writing full-time.
Andrew has always had a strong interest in the life and works of Robert Burns, and is a past president of St Andrews Burns Club, one of the oldest in Scotland. His partner Eve is a daughter of the late Denis Williams, the distinguished Guyanese archaeologist, author and artist, and Andrew now regards Guyana as his second home. The more he grew aware of the history of the once great Demerara sugar plantations, the more he became intrigued by Burnsâ virtual silence on the subject of the slave trade, particularly since the poet had seriously contemplated emigrating to the West Indies. The result was Illustrious Exile(2006).
He is a past winner of the Sloan Prize for Scots writing with a short story The Ken-Sign, which remains unpublished. He is currently gathering materials for a collection of short stories based on the varied experiences of âreturneesâ in Guyana. As a Scot in Guyana his own experiences raise issues of identity that he is exploring further in poetry and prose. (Courtesy of Peepal Tree Press)
Marie-Elena John is a former Africa development specialist. She and her husband and two children divide their time between Washington, D.C., and Antigua. This is her first novel. (Courtesy of HarperCollins)
Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley
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Coinciding with the 25th Anniversary of Bob Marley's Death (May 11, 1981) NEW BOOK FROM AMISTAD/HARPERCOLLINS ISBN: 0060539917; On Sale: 05/02/2006; Format: Hardcover; Pages: 224; Bob Marley was a reggae superstar, a musical prophet who brought the sound of the Third World to the entire globe. Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley goes beyond the myth of Marley to bring you the private side of a man few people ever really knew. Drawing from original interviews with the people closest to Marley -- including his widow, Rita, his mother, Cedella, his bandmate and childhood friend Bunny Wailer, his producer Chris Blackwell, and many others -- Legend paints an entirely fresh picture of one of the most enduring musical artists of our times. This is a portrait of the artist as a young man, from his birth in the tiny town of Nine Miles in the hills of Jamaica to the making of his debut international record, Catch a Fire. We see Marley on the tough streets of Trench Town before he found stardom, struggling to find his way in music, in love, and in life, and we take the wild ride with him to worldwide acceptance and adoration. From acclaimed journalist Christopher John Farley, the author of the bestselling biography of Aaliyah and the reporter who broke the story on Dave Chappelle's retreat to South Africa, Before the Legend is bursting with fresh insights into Marley and Jamaica, and is the definitive story of Marley's early days.
About the Author
Christopher John Farley was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in Brockport, New York. He is a graduate of Harvard University and a former editor of the Harvard Lampoon. He is the author of the bestselling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman and the novels My Favorite War and Kingston by Starlight. He is also the coauthor of Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues. He has worked as an editor and pop-music critic at Time magazine and is currently an editor at the Wall Street Journal.
Muscular Learning: Cricket and Education in the Making of the British West Indies at the End of the 19th Century
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This study is a major contributopn to the debate on cricket and society in the West Indies. This book was written with passion and imagination and inspired by CLR James's masterpiece Beyond a Boundary. The book explores the role of theat quintessential imperial game-cricket and education in the shaping of identity in the former British West Indies from the latter years of slavery to 1900.
About the Author
Clem Seecharan is a Professor of Caribbean History and Head of Caribbean Studies at London Metropolitan University. He is the authour of the 2005 Elsa Goveia Prize winner Sweetening Bitter Sugar: Jock Campbell the Booker reformer in British Guiana 1934-1966.
Clicl on title to read the latest New York Times Book Review !!
This may be the smallest fort ever constructed by the Dutch overseas. Kyk-Over-Al: the historic name of a small island, about 1.5 acres in size, is located at the junction of the Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivers.
In the late 16th century, Europeans began to trade in the West Indies for salt, which was at that time a `luxuryâ in Europe. European trade goods were exchanged for indigenous products such as annatto, which was used as a dye in Europe.
However, the trade was not economically viable as the quantities of items supplied by the indigenous peoples were insufficient. Thus depots were built to collect and store produce until the arrival of the ships. Two depots, one at Nibie, a small village on the Abary Creek, and one on the Pomeroon River, were established for his purpose.
The latter was soon removed during the early part of the 17th century to a small island at the junction of the three rivers, Essequibo, Cuyuni and Mazaruni. A small fort armed with a few guns was constructed. It was named Fort Ter Hoogen in honour of an influential Dutchman. However, this appellation soon gave way to the descriptive name Kyk-Over-Al (See Over All).
The British governed the island in 1666 for a short period. However, it was recaptured and fortified by the Dutch. Activities reached a peak in 1670, when a great deal of trading was done with the local tribes.
By 1716, the island became overcrowded and this resulted in the decision to construct a new house for the Commadeur at Cartabo Point. Dutch administration was relocated to Fort Island, closer to the mouth of Essequibo River. In 1748, most of the buildings were demolished and the materials were used to construct a sugar mill at Plantation Duyenenburg, which was located along the Essequibo River.
During the boundary dispute of 1897 between Venezuela and the British Guiana, excavations of the foundations of the remaining ruins and the bricks of the lower course were undertaken to clarify the builders of the fort. The samples taken were analysed in England. These examinations revealed that the bricks used in the construction of the fort were of Dutch origin. This knowledge was used to substantiate the claim that the British had inherited territories formerly occupied by the Dutch.
In June 1910, the island was thoroughly cleared of its undergrowth by an order of Governor Sir Frederick Hodgson. Many parts of the fort, including the stone ramparts and brick pavements complete with relics of Dutch occupation such as canon balls, glass bottles and several clay tobacco pipes were unearthed.
The ruins revealed that the ground floor was used as a storehouse for food and goods received from the indigenous and a magazine. There were three rooms on the top floor - one for the soldiers, one for the Commandeur and the other for the Secretary of the colony of Essequibo.
Today, all that remains of the fort is a brick arch.
On July 20, 1999, the island was declared a National monument. This site is maintained and managed by the National Trust of Guyana.
(Courtesy of http://www.landofsixpeoples.com)
Isabel Adonis,Elizabeth Alleyne,Caz,CleanSlate,Cyril Dabydeen,David Dabydeen,Hope McMillian,Michaela V. McRae,Pertamber Persaud,Jeremy Poynting,Guoyan Rampersaud,James C. Richmond,Zaira Simone,Kamanie Singh,Jacqueline Ward,Wyc Williams
The author as ethnographer: A Morning at the Office
Edgar Mittelholzer's A Morning at the Office (Mittelholzer 1979), first published in 1950, can be read as a micro-sociological analysis of social relations at an office in Port-of-Spain. The office has 14 employees who between them span virtually the entire scope of variation with respect to social classification in late colonial Trinidadian society. The classificatory dimensions of ethnicity, class, gender and locality are all covered through Mittelholzer's very varied cast, which even includes an anomaly, namely a homosexual coloured man.3
The simple idea behind the novel consists in describing what happens in the office between four minutes to seven and lunchtime, in order that the reader may observe how a particular pattern of social classification is confirmed and reproduced through the difficult and subtle art of social interaction. Like any good ethnographer, Mittelholzer tries to fuse the universal with the particular and thus accounts for individual idiosyncracies, as well as structural and cultural defining characteristics of the different situations. His cast introduces the secretary Miss Yen Tip, who "was a creole Chinese who could not speak Chinese"; there is Mr Jagabir, the East Indian accountant who unsuccessfully tries to feel at ease in the urbane creole environment of the office and continuously fears that his superiors will send him back to the cane fields; there is the creolized Indian girl Miss Bisnauth who is in love with a coloured artist and rejects the constraints of caste; there is the young black boy Horace whose Uncle Tom attitudes will no doubt help him to a successful career in independent Trinidad a decade later, and so on. Although my fieldwork took place four decades after Mittelholzer's, I have met all these characters.
Read as ethnography in the 1990s, the novel indicates that ethnic relations have changed, and one of the author's most impressive achievements is his depiction of the ambiguous and complex relationship between the colonial white upper class and the indigenous coloured middle class. Since many of them were beneficiaries of the "jobs for the boys" principle, the whites in Trinidad were often of more humble origins than the local coloureds. As the light-brown secretary Miss Henery muses on page 93, after having been humiliated by her boss:
A dirty lot of people. And who was Murrain at all! For all she knew, she had much better class than he. Most of these English people who came out to the colonies were of the dregs. But the instant they arrived they turned gods. Who knew if Murrain had not been dragged up in some London slum? His white skin was all that made him somebody in Trinidad. Her parents and grandparents were ladies and gentlemen
Today, the relationship between whites and coloureds is less important in Trinidadian social classification than it was then, although it remains ambiguous in a similar way. In this novel, further, a great deal of attention is granted to the fine distinctions within the coloured segment; the distinction between kinky hair and light brown on the one hand and straight hair and olive skin on the other is considered important. In contemporary Trinidad, it would seem inappropriate to grant such a distinction great social importance.
Mittelholzer's concern with rank and social classification is evident throughout the book. Through descriptions of bodily movements from gracious and elegant to clumsy and inept, through depictions of the characters' speech, from gross rural Trinidadian creole to Queen's English, and in his descriptions of the relations between the sexes, he also gives the reader abundant information about cultural differences between the rank categories. On this score, Mittelholzer could be challenged if his book is read as an ethnographic description, according to which premisses he might be criticized for portraying the local cultural variation in an exaggerated and biased manner.
Since Mittelholzer's book is a novel, convention dictates that it is not used as hard ethnographic evidence. However, A Morning at the Office is doubtless based on first-class ethnographic field material; it covers many fine nuances of inter-ethnic micro relations, and it is surprisingly comprehensive. It can teach us, for example, that small-islanders from the Lesser Antilles constituted an important category of significant Others for the Trinidadians blacks and coloureds at the time, but not for the Indians and whites. This remains true today.
If one compares its insights and virtues with sociological research carried out in Trinidad during the same period, such as Lloyd Braithwaite's well-known study Social Stratification in Trinidad (1975 ), one is compelled to conclude that the novel defends its place as an important piece of Trinidadian ethnography. In fact, Braithwaite's arguments concerning ethnicity and rank resemble Mittelholzer's, and his evidence is frequently anecdotal and thus similar to that of the novelist. Braithwaite's study lacks some of the detail and introspective qualities of the novel, but contains more comprehensive and accurate descriptions about rank categories, historical circumstances and features of Trinidadian society. Braithwaite's explanations follow the basic Parsonian schema fashionable at the time. In sum, the novel and the sociological study are complementary, and they tend to support each other. Mittelholzer's ethnography is superb, and his examples are striking and rich in connotations this should not come as a surprise, since he has himself invented them. Like a sociological or anthropological treatise, a book like A Morning at the Office can be distorting as well as liberating as an addendum to one's own ethnography. It is littered with ethnic prejudices and attempts to persuade the reader about the validity of a particular model of Trinidadian society. Since its central assumptions are not made explicit and since the argument, as it were, is clothed in the poetic and suggestive language of literature, it can be seductive reading. Since scholars try to present their argument in a clear and unambiguous fashion, it may be easier to argue against a sociological study than a novel because it is easier to discern its central contentions.
There is a second level at which Mittelholzer's novel functions as ethnography. At this level, it can be read as an ethnographic source rather than an ethnographic description. As already suggested, the book is an inadvertent statement of the author's biases and ideological position in multi-ethnic colonial Trinidad. At this level, the author makes spontaneous, non-reflexive and frequently implicit statements about his cultural universe; in Holy and Stuchlik's (1983) terminology, he performs an act rather than uttering a statement. In order to appreciate this aspect of Mittelholzer's novel, one must know something about the author. One will need to know that he was an immigrant from British Guiana to Trinidad, that his social identity from boyhood was that of a lower-middle class coloured, whose main ambition since adolescence had been to live in England and write books for an English audience. Mittelholzer's own positioning in Trinidadian society can thus contribute to explaining his unusual sensitivity to ethnic processes. As a foreigner, he could adopt a fairly detached view, and as a coloured person from a poly-ethnic society similar to Trinidad, he belonged to an ambiguous ethnic category himself. In order to understand the significance of the author's social identity here, one must have additional knowledge of the societies in question. Only then can one discern, between the lines, how Mittelholzer produces through his novels a version of a world where good manners and proper language matter more than racial origins, and where Indian culture is ultimately a crude peasant culture which is justly marginalized in confrontation with the sophisticated, witty and gracious creole culture characteristic of the coloured bourgeoisie.4 At this level, the book cannot be evaluated as ethnography by a reader who is not already familiar with West Indian societies.
Mittelholzer's novel is not very well known in Trinidad, and it is certainly not widely read. Its direct impact on Trinidadian society can therefore be considered negligible, unlike that of the next novel which I will consider.
(Excerpt from http://folk.uio.no/geirthe/Authoranthrop.html)
Posted by jebratt ::
Sunday, January 29, 2006 ::