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Calypso MagnoliaThe Crosscurrents of Caribbean and Southern Literature$
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John Wharton Lowe

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628882

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628882.001.0001

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Unleashing the Loas

Unleashing the Loas

The Literary Legacy of the Haitian Revolution in the U.S. South and the Caribbean

(p.93) 3 Unleashing the Loas
Calypso Magnolia

John Wharton Lowe

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter surveys the ways in which the Haitian Revolution was made a taboo subject in the U.S. South, as slave owners feared a similar conflagration; concurrently, however, appearances of the conflict in Southern letters is surveyed, leading to a comparison of the guarded nature of such presentations with subsequent settings of the conflict by Caribbean writers. Nineteenth-century works by Victor Séjour, Charles Gayarré, Sherwood Bonner, George Washington Cable, and Grace King are noted, followed by extended readings of texts by twentieth-century writers such as Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, and William Faulkner, who are placed in company with Caribbean writers - Alejo Carpentier, Aimé Césaire, C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott, Édouard Glissant - who dramatized the conflict. The chapter concludes with a reading of Madison Smartt Bell’s All Soul’s Rising. All these sections are supported by a discussion of relevant histories and critical analysis by figures such as J. Michael Dash, Sybille Fischer, Franz Fanon, and Michel-Rolph Trouillot; special attention goes to vodoun, the interplay of colonial powers in the basin, varying portrayals of leaders such as Macandal, Toussaint, and LeClerc, and the contrasting roles of enslaved characters, who mount the “revolution from below.”

Keywords:   Haitian Revolution, Plantation Systems, Slavery, Caribbean empires, Creolization, African religions

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