Free and French in the Caribbean

Free and French in the Caribbean : Toussaint Louverture, Aime Cesaire, and Narratives of Loyal Opposition

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In Free and French in the Caribbean, John Patrick Walsh studies the writings of Toussaint Louverture and Aime Cesaire to examine how they conceived of and narrated two defining events in the decolonializing of the French Caribbean: the revolution that freed the French colony of Saint-Domingue in 1803 and the departmentalization of Martinique and other French colonies in 1946. Walsh emphasizes the connections between these events and the distinct legacies of emancipation in the narratives of revolution and nationhood passed on to successive generations. By reexamining Louverture and Cesaire in light of their multilayered narratives, the book offers a deeper understanding of the historical and contemporary phenomenon of "free and French" in the Caribbean.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 158 x 232 x 18mm | 419.99g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 7 b&w illus.
  • 0253006279
  • 9780253006271

Table of contents

I. Toussaint Louverture
1. Toussaint Louverture and the Family of Saint-Domingue
2. Under the Stick of Maitre Toussaint
3. "Free and French": La Constitution de la colonie francaise de Saint-Domingue
4. Toussaint at a Crossroads: The Memoire of the "First Soldier of the Republic of Saint Domingue"
II. Aime Cesaire
5. Cesaire Reads Toussaint: The Haitian Revolution and the Problem of Departmentalization
6. Haitian Building: La Tragedie du Roi Christophe
Conclusion: Artisans of Free and French
Works Cited
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Review quote

[T]hat Free and French inspires so many questions is testament to its ambition, the provocative parallel at its heart, and the richness of Walsh's analysis. The book is another important reminder not only that the Haitian Revolution proved powerful inspiration for the rest of the Caribbean, even centuries later, but also that perhaps its most significant ideological victory was exposing a fundamental truth: the colonies could never be free while French.July 2015 * H-Empire * [This] book . . . is a wealth of information for researchers looking for a way to connect the contributions of several contemporary scholars in the field of postcolonial studies. Students and scholars of French Caribbean studies will find Free and French an incredibly valuable addition to their libraries. * Journal of Haitian Studies * Walsh . . . has opened a fascinating and fruitful line of study, not only of the writings of these two leaders, but also of the ambiguous colonial and postcolonial relationship between the French Republic and the French Caribbean. . . . Highly recommended. * Choice * Free and French in the Caribbean is . . . a valuable contribution to both the rapidly proliferating literature on the Haitian Revolution and the emerging revisionist appreciation of Cesaire's intellectual and political project. * Small Axe * J.P.Walsh has produced for the nonspecialist reader an excellent analysis of the historiographical discourse on Toussaint Louverture and Aime Cesaire with a focus on the meaning(s) of decolonization in the late eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. * New West Indian Guide *
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About John Patrick Walsh

John Patrick Walsh is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
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