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Gendering mornes and volcanoes in French Caribbean literature

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Volcanism has shaped the natural and man-made landscapes of the Lesser Antilles but also remodelled their political and economic activities. This violent interaction has inspired literary authors to explore the role of volcanoes in providing an iconography of resistance. While Aimé Césaire finds inspiration in volcanoes as positive symbols of revolt, other authors, particularly women, tend to be more receptive to their dual identity as rebellious figures and indiscriminate killers. mornes also play a prominent role in the iconography of resistance. Their ruggedness mirror the invincible maroon as it emerged not so much from historical studies as from local folklore and literary portrayals. A gendered reading of mornes emerges as French Caribbean male authors tend to focus on the role they played in marooning while women writers are more aware of mornes as life-giving forces where rivers are born, herbal remedies grow and emotionally wounded characters find solace.

Keywords: environmental threats; gendering; mornes; opposition; plains; resistance; volcanoes

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 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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