Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey

By Belinda Jack | Go to book overview

5
HAITI

WITHIN the francophone world, particularly the Caribbean and Black francophone world, Haiti has an emblematic status: 'Pays où l'homme noir s'est mis debout pour affirmer, pour la première fois, sa volonté de former un nouveau monde, un monde libre.1. In terms of the literary representation of Haiti's history in other black literatures, Bernard Mouralis writes:

On comprend l'intérêt que pouvait susciter chez les écrivains négroafricains l'histoire de l'indépendance haïtienne. Alors que partout ailleurs la résistance avait succombé [. . . ] Haïti offrait au contraire l'exemple d'une révolte armée qui avait libéré définitivement les Noirs de l'esclavage et avait abouti à la création [. . . j du premier état noir. Le thème était riche et devait donner naissance à une abondante littérature historique, théâtrale, poétique et, plus rarement, romanesque.2

Haiti's history is fundamentally different from that of other francophone Caribbean territories. But as René Depestre argues in a recent essay, despite the important differences which separate the Creole societies of the Caribbean, they are differences which issue from a particular common experience:

Nos identités, à de nombreux égards, ont été détenninés par les mêmes 'contextes médians'. Milan Kundera appelle, très intelligernment, contexte médian 'la marche intermédiare entre une nation et le monde'. Aux Caraïbes, en effet, nous cohabitons à l'intersection d'une multiplicité de contextes médians: précolombien, latino-américain, africain, français, voire nord-américain et canadien. Sur les plans anthropologique et culturel, ils

____________________
1
Aimé Césaire quoted by René Depestre, Bonjour et adieu à la négritude ( 1980), 77.
2
Bernard Mouralis, "L'lmage de l'indépendance haïtienne dans la littérature négro-afficaine", Revue de littértature comparée, 48 ( 1974), 504-535 (p. 504).

-130-

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Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgements *
  • Contents *
  • PART I - Europe and North America 23
  • 1 - Belgium 25
  • 2 - Switzerland 41
  • 3 - Quebec and French Canada 57
  • Guide to Further Reading 96
  • PART II - Creole Island 101
  • 4 - Antilles and Frenxh Guiana 103
  • 5 - Haiti 130
  • 6 - Mauritius 144
  • 7 - La Réunion 152
  • Guide to Further Reading 156
  • PART III - North Africa and the Near East 161
  • 8 - Algeria 165
  • 9 - Morocco 185
  • 10 - Tunisia 196
  • 11 - Egypt 207
  • 12 - Lebanon 209
  • Guide to Further Reading 212
  • PART IV - Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar 217
  • 13 - Sub-Saharan Africa 219
  • 14 - Madagascar 267
  • Guide to Further Reading 274
  • Conclusion 277
  • Select Bibliography 282
  • Index 283
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