Theory versus practice: on the postcolonial marginalization of Haitian literature

Douglas, R. (2012) Theory versus practice: on the postcolonial marginalization of Haitian literature. Small Axe, 16(3 39), pp. 188-198. (doi: 10.1215/07990537-1894177)

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This article engages with fundamental questions regarding postcolonial canon formation and the marginalization of the Haitian Spiralist writers, the theory-centrism of postcolonial criticism, and ‘showing’ versus ‘telling’; issues raised by Kaiama Glover’s Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon. Using as a point of departure Glover’s key notions of ‘not-Paris’ and ‘ex-centricity’ regarding the critical reception of the Spiralists, the response of this article is why only not-Paris? Here it is argued that equally significant for this particular group of Haitian writers is the fact that they are also not-US (not-NYC) and not-Quebec (not-Montreal), as these represent other crucial centres of publishing from a Haitian literary perspective. Through analysis of the centrality of Haitian writers—including that most ultravocal Spiralist, Frankétienne—to the whole French Étonnants Voyageurs project, it is argued that many Haitian writers are, in fact, what we could call becoming-France/becoming-Paris. Questioning the phenomenon of postcolonial star formations, as delineated by Graham Huggan and Chris Bongie, the article also examines the inescapability of extra-literary factors where Haitian literature is concerned, particularly in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Douglas, Dr Rachel
Authors: Douglas, R.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Journal Name:Small Axe
ISSN (Online):1534-6714

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