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Dangerous Creole Liaisons$
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Jacqueline Couti

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383018

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383018.001.0001

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The (White) Female Creole Body: Bearer of Culture and Cultural Signifier

The (White) Female Creole Body: Bearer of Culture and Cultural Signifier

(p.21) Chapter 1 The (White) Female Creole Body: Bearer of Culture and Cultural Signifier
Dangerous Creole Liaisons

Jacqueline Couti

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the national implications of the politics of victimization that Traversay inherited from the early colonial period. In 1806, for a French audience, this author rearticulated discussions about victimized white Creoles and underscored their forgotten contribution to French nationalism. He presents a political and cultural propaganda that re-evaluates the old monarchic regime in an ambivalent fashion, particularly Dangerous Creole Liaisons in response to Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s eighteenth-century vision of Creole culture. Traversay creates the first (and possibly last) national romance around transatlantic family ties that shows a vibrant allegiance to béké ideology in Martinique. In his novel, representations of sexuality and the threat of forbidden matrimony portray a victimized Creole society struggling to define and protect its idea of the new nation: a community under siege. The difficult amorous relationships between two Creoles, Carina and Zémédare, are shown as threatened by French sexual license and sociocultural transgression. Such forbidden interactions—among them, Carina’s misguided engagement to the libertine Médilore and the marriage proposal that the mulâtresse Zoé receives from a Frenchman—symbolize the dangerous liaisons that exist between Martinique and a decadent France. The novel concludes with Carina’s legitimate marriage to the gallant Zémédare, while the idea of a white Creole nation remains unresolved.

Keywords:   victimization, libertinage, Bernardin, French Revolution, family romance, nationbuilding, bourgeois self, female body, female allegory, whiteness

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