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Beyond the Slave NarrativePolitics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution$
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Deborah Jenson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781846314971

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316517

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Traumatic Indigeneity: The (Anti)Colonial Politics of “Having” a Creole Literary Culture

Traumatic Indigeneity: The (Anti)Colonial Politics of “Having” a Creole Literary Culture

(p.227) 6 Traumatic Indigeneity: The (Anti)Colonial Politics of “Having” a Creole Literary Culture
Beyond the Slave Narrative
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the influence of the notion of ‘traumatic indigeneity’ on forms of literary ‘collecting’ by exiled colonists that resulted in the rare preservation or publication of popular lyrical material, with an emphasis on the courtesan milieu of the ‘libertine colony’. In the context of ‘postcolonial’ consciousness and nostalgia in the early nineteenth century, popular Haitian literature that tackled the courtesans' negotiations of racial and economic hierarchy became largely ‘collectible’. Due to the destabilising effects of the Haitian Revolution, colonists recognised the singularity of libertine interracial commerce and recorded a literature often deemed incompatible with the elite registers of print culture. The chapter looks at the mimetic politics of having a literary culture – the issues involved in ‘managing mimesis’ – in Saint-Domingue's cultural life during the years of the Haitian Revolution and early independence. In particular, it considers the emergent identity in the community of exiles from Saint-Domingue, the complex casting of colonised and colonising roles, and the relation of Saint-Domingue's libertine culture to a local literary tradition.

Keywords:   Haitian literature, traumatic indigeneity, libertine colony, literary culture, courtesans, Haitian Revolution, mimetic politics, mimesis, Saint-Domingue, exiles

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