Haiti, History, and the Gods

TitleHaiti, History, and the Gods
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsDayan, Joan
Number of Pages362
PublisherUniversity of California Press
CityBerkeley, CA

This book charts the cultural imagination of Haiti, not only by reconstructing the island's history, but by highlighting ambiguities and complexities that have been ignored, investigating the confrontational space in which Haiti is created and recreated in fiction and fact, text and ritual, discourse and practice. It gives human dimensions to this eighteenth-century French colony and provides a template for understanding the Haiti of today. In examining the complex social fabric of French Saint-Domingue, which in 1804 became Haiti, the book uncovers a silenced, submerged past. Instead of relying on familiar sources to reconstruct Haitian history, it uses a diversity of voices that have previously been unheard. Many of the materials recovered here—overlooked or repressed historical texts, legal documents, religious works, secret memoirs, letters, and literary fictions—have never been translated into English. Others, such as Marie Vieux Chauvet's radical novel of vodou, Fonds des Nègres, are seldom used as historical sources. The book also argues provocatively for the consideration of both vodou rituals and narrative fiction as repositories of history. [Publisher]

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