Herbert’s Career: H. G. de Lisser and the Business of National Literature

  • Leah Reade Rosenberg


Between 1913 and 1944, Herbert George de Lisser, a brown Jamaican who left school at the age of fourteen, was the single most powerful man in the world of Jamaican print media, political debate, and national literature. Having begun his career as a writer for the Jamaica Times, de Lisser served as editor of Jamaica’s most influential paper, the Daily Gleaner, from 1904 until his death in 1944. This position gave him a near monopoly on the manufacture of public opinion. His position as secretary of the Jamaica Imperial Association enhanced his political power. As secretary, he acted as a trade ambassador for Jamaican business interests in the United Kingdom.1 His support was critical to politicians; his condemnation could endanger even the governor’s power.2 While he often dismissed English officials as patently incompetent, he devoted most of his energy to furthering the interests of Jamaica’s business class and opposing working-class political and economic power.


Moral Progress National Literature Folk Religion Historical Romance Elite Woman 
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© Leah Reade Rosenberg 2007

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  • Leah Reade Rosenberg

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