Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life

Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life

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Rutgers University Press


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Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life

Phyllis Shand Allfrey is the first biography of one of the Caribbean's most intriguing writers and politicians. Allfrey (1908-1986) is best known as the author of The Orchid House, a fictionalized account of her early life that was turned into a highly acclaimed film for British television. Born to a prominent family of formerly wealthy sugar planters in Dominica, Allfrey followed an unexpected path: a rising novelist (who is often paired with Jean Rhys in critical discussion) and Fabian socialist in England and the United States, she returned to Dominica to organize the peasantry and estate workers into the island's first political party. Ostracized by the white elite into which she was born, she led the Dominica Labour party to power and became the West Indian Federation's only woman (and only white) minister, only to find herself expelled from the party when the rise of black nationalism made it expedient. The biography recreates Allfrey's life as it unfolds against the background of twentieth-century Caribbean political and literary history, from the decline of the planter class through the rise of party politics and the efforts to join the anglophone West Indies into a federation, to the troubled sixties and seventies, decades marked by racial violence and the emergence of the former British territories from colonial control. This volume includes five autobiographical stories that have long been out of print.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813522654
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 04/28/1996
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 354
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are Saying About This

Joan Dayan

A marvel of reconstruction...This biography gives detail, texture, and particularity back to islands all too often made the object of denigration or romance. Paravisini provides us not just with this special glimpse of Dominica but also captures the arduous and deeply moving portrait of a writer, mother, and activist.
— (Joan Dayan, author of Haiti, History, and the Gods

Maryse Conde

A fascinating portrait....[It] not only endears us to the island of Dominica but has made a major contribution to Caribbean studies.
— (Maryse Conde, author of Crossing the Mangrove)

Peter Hulme

One of the very best biographies of a West Indian ever written, [it] interweaves the personal, literary, and political dimensions of its subject's life with extraordinary skill. This beautifully written book is both the poignant story of a West Indian life and a history of the island of Dominica in the middle decade of the twentieth century.

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