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The non-magical realism of Jacques Roumain's Gouverneurs de la Rosée

Leak, AN; (2017) The non-magical realism of Jacques Roumain's Gouverneurs de la Rosée. Journal of Haitian Studies , 23 (1) 10.1353/jhs.2017.0006. Green open access

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Abstract

Gouverneurs de la rosée has received more critical attention than any other Haitian novel, and much of that attention has been focused on the "realist" credentials of that novel. That realism has been variously defined—from those who have read the novel as a thinly disguised Marxist treatise to those who see in it a kind of fictionalized ethnography, allowing the reader a glimpse of the "real" daily life of the peasants of the mornes.1 Not all such judgements have been favorable, and it is remarkable how many readings of the novel excoriate it for its failure to live up to the aims that they, in fact, ascribe to it. Thus, the novel has been criticized for purporting to address the real problems of the peasants while ignoring the documented historical travails of analogous peasant communities in the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac in the 1930s; Roumain has been accused of eluding the contradictions inherent in applying a Marxist revolutionary theory to an undeveloped agrarian society by transforming his hero, Manuel, from militant into messiah; ethnologists have drawn attention to Roumain's supposed ignorance of the informal laws of land tenure and succession observed in Haitian rural communities and of the way that Vodou was actually practiced by the peasants.2

Type: Article
Title: The non-magical realism of Jacques Roumain's Gouverneurs de la Rosée
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1353/jhs.2017.0006
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1353/jhs.2017.0006
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 Journal of Haitian Studies. This article was first published in Journal of Haitian Studies 23:1 (2017), 135-159. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572202
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