Poetry of Revolution- Romanticism and National Projects in Nineteenth-Century Haiti

Haiti, Print, 1

Book info

Amy Reinsel 

September 1, 2011

Proquest, Umi Dissertation Publishing



In each of the three chapters I rely on historical context in order to situate the poetry and examine it through textual analysis. I explore in an initial chapter how political changes in Haiti in the 1820s, along with recognition of independence from France, coincided with the subsequent birth of Haitian Romanticism in the 1830s. The poetry of Coriolan Ardouin and Ignace Nau documents the development of poetic subjectivity and the inaugurating of national history which make this a pivotal period in Haitian poetry. A second chapter focuses on Haiti's most prolific nineteenth-century poet, Oswald Durand, whose collection Rires et Pleurs includes poetry from the 1860s through the 1880s. Haitian theories of racial equality are expressed in Durand's corpus and set within the thematic and aesthetic norms of French Romanticism, but the effort to inscribe a national and racial specificity enriches as much as it complicates his poetic project. In the final chapter, I document the shift that occurs for the last Haitian Romantic poet, Massillon Coicou. In his 1892 collection Poesies Nationales, the confident project of asserting national identity gives way to the sense of national failure due to an increasingly triumphant imperialism and internal corruption. On the eve of the Haitian centennial, Coicou's verse demonstrates the ways in which political crisis in Haiti are inherently tied to the notion of poetry. He ultimately turns to political activism, and his assassination in 1908 symbolizes the demise of poetry as a viable, national project.



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Funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation