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Architextual AuthenticityConstructing Literature and Literary Identity in the French Caribbean$
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Jason Herbeck

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940391

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940391.001.0001

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Past and Present Matter(s)

Past and Present Matter(s)

Vernacular Architecture, the Caribbean House, and the Building Blocks of Literature

(p.33) Chapter One Past and Present Matter(s)
Architextual Authenticity

Jason Herbeck

Liverpool University Press

As a complement to the in-depth literary analyses that follow, Chapter 1 begins by examining a bona fide architectural structure, the Haitian gingerbread house, as a literal—i.e. physical—manifestation of authentic French-Caribbean construction. Drawing from both (past) traditional techniques and present-day technologies and innovations, the Gingerbreads’ vernacular architecture is described as a fundamentally localized, transformative building process that, for the purposes of this book, equate with what can be understood as the vernacular architexture of the French Caribbean. Hence, the recent “spatial turn” (Conley) in literary criticism should encompass not only natural but human landscapes in so far as their integral role as characters in the telling and creating of the region’s identifying narratives. Consequently, three brief textual analyses of French-Caribbean works serve to illustrate how the construction of individual and collective identities is informed by the architectural and architextual structures found within literature. The chapter concludes with an overview of relevant literary criticism, in particular as pertaining to the role of literary form in the evolving fields of spatial and postcolonial theory.

Keywords:   Gingerbread architecture, Vernacular architecture, Vernacular architexture, 2010 Haiti earthquake, Spatial Theory, Yanick Lahens, Évelyne Trouillot, Raphaël Confiant, Literary Criticism

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