Commemorating Edgar Mittelholzer Birth Centenary, part 5 Chronology of the Life and Work of Mittelholzer

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Preserving our literary heritage
(Introduction: Novelist, Painter, Poet, Edgar Mittelholzer was born on December 16, 1909, in the town of New Amsterdam, British Guiana. He went on to live in Trinidad, Barbados, Canada and the UK. When he committed suicide in England on May 5, 1965, Mittelholzer had already published 25books, including 23 novels.)

It is only natural as we celebrate the birth centenary of Edgar Mittelholzer that there is a renewed interest in the life and work of Guyana’s most renowned novelist. This renewed interest, however, is mixture of dated scholarships (pitted with misinformation) and a whiff of new material. In the light of the misinformation, a chronology of the life and work of Mittelholzer ought to be useful. This chronology ought to be useful also in encouraging further scholarship.

1909 December 16, Edgar Austin Mittelholzer is born to William Austin & Rosamond Mabel Mittelholzer in a house on Main Street, New Amsterdam, owned by the Lutheran Church; he was the first born of three boys and one girl

1911 Birth of his sister, Lucille; moved to Robb Street, Georgetown, for a short while

1913 Family moved to 5 Coburg Street, New Amsterdam

1922 Entered Berbice High School; started keeping a diary; engaged in stamp collecting, scouting, creating crossword puzzles…

1928 Turned to Zen Buddhism

1929 January to March, completed first novel, ‘The Terrible Four’

1936 May, attempted suicide; first of three attempts, with the third in May 1965 successful

1937 Self-published ‘Creole Chips’; came under the spell of Wagner’s music

1938 Accumulated about 15 rejections slips

1941 March, moved to Georgetown; December, departed for Trinidad, joined the Navy

1941 ‘Corentyne Thunder’ published by Eyre & Spottiswoode

1942 March, married Trinidadian, Roma Halfhide

1945 Attached to the BBC’s ‘ Caribbean Voices’ radio programme in various capacities, until 1958

1948 Sailed for England with wife and daughter

1950 ‘A Morning at the Office’ published by Hogarth Press

1951 April, ‘Shadows Move Among Them’ published by Peter Nevill

1952 ‘Children of Kayana’ & ‘The Weather in Middenshot’ published

1952 May, awarded Guggenheim Fellowship; moved to Canada (’52 to ’53)

1953 Moved to Barbados with wife and four children; ‘The Life and Death of Silvia’ published

1954 ‘Kaywana Stock’ published

1955 ‘My Bones and My Flute’ published

1956 May, returned to England; ‘Of Trees and Sea’ published

1957 ‘A Tale of Three Places’ published

1958 Three books published – ‘With a Carib Eye’, ‘Kaywana Blood’ and ‘The Weather Family’

1959 May, divorced; August, married Jacqueline Pointer; ‘A Tinkling in the Twilight’ and ‘The Mad MacMullocks’ published

1960 ‘Eltonsbrody’ and ‘Latticed Echoes’ published

1961 Visited Appenzell, Switzerland; ‘The Piling of Clouds’ and ‘Thunder Returning’ published

1962 ‘The Wounded and the Worried’ published

1963

1964 No work published

1965 ‘The Aloneness of Mrs. Chatham’ published;

May 5, death by suicide;

‘The Jilkington Drama’ published posthumously.

Responses to this author telephone (592) 226-0065 or email: oraltradition2002@yahoo.com

What’s happening:
* Looking for additional information on Basil Balgobin, playwright and short story writer, and Ramcharitar-Lalla, (b. 1906) poet and anthologist.

* Look out for the production commencement date of the next issue of The Guyana Annual