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History and cultural identity in Haitian literature

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Abstract:

As the title of this article may allusively suggest, the history of Haitian literature is tied to the island's distinctive political status as the first Caribbean nation to gain its freedom from French colonial rule. According to historical accounts, it took more than thirteen years of militant resistance and tactical warfare to defeat Napoleon's expeditionary force and proclaim its national independence on 1 January 1804. Names of militant resisters like Makandal, Daniel Boukman, Toussaint L'Ouverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Henri Christophe are etched in the national collective consciousness and figure prominently in Haitian cultural expressions. Once the 'pearl of the French Antilles' to now the third poorest nation of the planet, Haiti continues to struggle for its freedom and its dignity. 1 January 2004 will mark Haiti's bicentennial and it appears befitting to revisit Haiti's past which fuelled and yielded a rich literary legacy. This article will focus more specifically on the wealth and breadth of literary writings and discourses that have shaped, influenced and enriched Caribbean narratives within a continuum of tradition and innovation.

Keywords: CARIBBEAN; DISCOURSE; HAITIAN LITERARY TRADITION; HAITIAN WRITERS; HISTORY; INTELLECTUAL; POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURES; TRANSNATIONAL

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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