Epilogue: a Case of Two Literatures

  • J. Michael Dash


The literary and political effervescence of 1946 is as close as Haiti would get to a literary renaissance in recent times. The successful overthrow of the arch-conservative Lescot, the strong Utopian impulse of Marxism and the taste for revolutionary politics encouraged by Bréton’s presence as well as the optimism of the postwar period created a euphoria that approached the frenzied activity of the Indigenous movement in the 1920s. This is clearly reflected in the ideas and the creative imagination of two of the enfants terribles of 1946 — Jacques-Stéphen Alexis and René Dépestre. The former’s theory of ‘marvellous realism’ with its passionate pan-Caribbean commitment and faith in the cultural survival of the Haitian people and Dépestre’s continued belief in the political realisation of Surrealism’s révolution permanente show the extent to which they were confident of the creative writer’s ability to transform the world.


Literary Activity Local Colour Creative Imagination Literary Creation Technical Debt 
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  1. 2.
    Franck Etienne, Au fil du Temps (Port-au-Prince: Antilles, 1964) p. 8.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Franck Etienne, Ultravocal (Port-au-Prince: Serge Gaston, 1972) p. 387.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    An interview with the founder of this movement, Gerard Dougé, and the manifesto of ‘Plurealisme’ can be found in Christophe Charles, Dix nouveaux poètes et écrivains haitiens (Port-au-Prince: Coll. UNHTI, 1974).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Rassoul Labuchin and Michaelle Lafontant-Medard, Le Ficus (Port-au-Prince; Theodore, 1971 ) pp. 12–13. L’Etoile Absinthe is the title of Jacques-Stéphen Alexis’s unfinished novel.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Franck Etienne, Les affres d’un défi (Port-au-Prince: Henri Deschamps, 1979).Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Dépestre’s recent ‘roman à clef’, Le mât de cocagne (Paris: Gallimard, 1976) also affirms the capacity of the individual to prevail against the submissiveness of a ‘pays anesthésié’.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. Michael Dash 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Michael Dash
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the West IndiesJamaica

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