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Title: The literary impact of the Haitian Revolution
Author: Kaisary, Philip James
ISNI:       0000 0001 3593 9374
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2008
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The Haitian Revolution (1 791-1804) reshaped the debates about slavery and freedom in Europe, accelerated the abolitionist movement, precipitated rebellions in neighbouring territories, and intensified both repression and antislavery sentiment. Its long-term effects remain visible in the many representations, recuperations, and invocations of the Revolution as an exemplar of black agency. At the same time, the violence of the conflict led to portrayals of Haiti as unregenerate and primitive, a prey to 'voodoo' and lawlessness. Hence the recuperation of Haiti's political and cultural history, in which the establishment of the first postcolonial nation must be accounted for as a momentous event despite its ostensible failure, contests the tradition of imperial denigration. The thesis addresses how the Haitian Revolution followed by the establishment of a Black Republic, provided inspiration for writers, artists and intellectuals throughout the Atlantic Diaspora in diverse cultural and intellectual locations from the 1920s onwards. If public knowledge about Haitian history has for some time now been limited in Europe and North America, the Revolution has been a potent factor in black memory and it remains an inspiration to Carib beans, Africans, African Americans, and Latin Americans, as well as to radical intellectuals and artists worldwide. The thesis studies the writings generated by the Revolution in the works of Aime Cesaire, C. L. R. James, Rene Depestre, Langston Hughes, Edouard Glissant, Alejo Carpentier, Derek Walcott, and Madison Smartt Bell, spanning French, English, and Spanish, and including poetry, drama, history, biography, fiction, and opera; while in the visual arts it considers the paintings of Kimathi Donkor and commemorative postage stamps. My discussion addresses both critical understandings and fictional reinventions of the Revolution's achievement and tragic reversals. I examine the ideologies informing the analyses, and the aesthetics of the imaginative writings, where a political stance in some cases served to promote innovation and experimental style and in others was a constraint.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: F1201 Latin America (General) ; PN Literature (General)