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Tropics of HaitiRace and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865$
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Marlene L. Daut

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381847

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381847.001.0001

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A ‘Quarrel between Two Brothers’: Eméric Bergeaud’s Ideal History of the Haitian Revolution

A ‘Quarrel between Two Brothers’: Eméric Bergeaud’s Ideal History of the Haitian Revolution

(p.412) Chapter Nine A ‘Quarrel between Two Brothers’: Eméric Bergeaud’s Ideal History of the Haitian Revolution
Tropics of Haiti

Marlene L. Daut

Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that the Haitian author Eméric Bergeaud’s historical romance of the Revolution, Stella (1859), complicates the archetypal portrait of the tragic “mulatto/a.” Stella provides a passionate reversal of the notion that differences in skin color encouraged family (read: national) conflicts. Instead, Stella offers a celebration of Haiti’s diversity by arguing that the union between people of different skin color during the War of Independence was the productive process responsible for the liberation of the country. Bergeaud’s novel consequently forces us to recognize the complicated and indeed conflicting meanings of the “mulatto,” which was the primary symbol of the both the family tragedy and violent rebellion (and, therefore, national uncertainty) in nineteenth-century European and U.S. American depictions of people of color, yet is described as an empty “racial” signifier left over from colonialism in much of post-revolutionary Haitian letters.

Keywords:   Bergeaud, Haitian literature, Haitian independence, Scientific Racism, Miscegenation, Tragic Mulatto/a, Fratricide, Patricide, French Revolution, Enlightenment

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