Charles Testut's Ile Vieux Salomoni

Overview

Through the study of Charles Testut's Le Vieux Salomon, a nineteenth-century southern Francophone antislavery novel, this book encourages a reassessment of the southern experience and of the canon of southern literature. Abel argues that Testut's distinctiveness lies in his French intellectual heritage and in his awareness of the rich historical and cultural links between the ethnic legacies of Louisiana and the French Caribbean. Le Vieux Salomon is marked by a sense of place through the author's identification ...

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Overview

Through the study of Charles Testut's Le Vieux Salomon, a nineteenth-century southern Francophone antislavery novel, this book encourages a reassessment of the southern experience and of the canon of southern literature. Abel argues that Testut's distinctiveness lies in his French intellectual heritage and in his awareness of the rich historical and cultural links between the ethnic legacies of Louisiana and the French Caribbean. Le Vieux Salomon is marked by a sense of place through the author's identification with two regions colonized by the French and which are symbolically represented in the bodies of his black protagonists. In this mulatto couple converge the history and memory of French colonization in the Antilles and Louisiana. Exploring Testut's influences, from Masonic symbolism and principles through nineteenth-century French socialist thought, the book shows how Testut endeavors, through his construction of raced and gendered identity in his protagonists, to eradicate the association of blackness with inferiority. It finishes with a comparative study between Le Vieux Salomon and Harriett Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin to demonstrate how Testut's perspective as a French southern local writer sets him apart from Stowe's Northern view, further emphasizing Testut's contribution to the formulation of a southern cultural and literary identity.

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Editorial Reviews

Cécile Accilien
Abel does an excellent job of linking Testut's social and philosophical thoughts to the organization of Le Vieux Salomon, as well as linking his non-fiction writing and his fiction writing. This book is a significant contribution to the field and a welcome addition to the growing body of work on French Louisiana authors.
Caryn Cossé Bell
In her study of French émigré Charles Testut, Sheri Lyn Abel combines superb literary analysis, skillful translations, and keen insights into the Francophone Atlantic’s revolutionary currents to make a major contribution to the expanding scholarship of nineteenth century Creole New Orleans and its circum-Caribbean political culture.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sheri Lyn Abel is assistant professor of French at Wheaton College.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Social Disruption: Testut and French Socialism Chapter 3 "La plus grande et la plus belle des Sociétés humaines": Freemasonry and Le Vieux Salomon Chapter 4 "The Stupid Aristocracy of Skin": The Black Persona in Le Vieux Salomon Chapter 5 Local Color and the Literary Imagination: Uncle Tom's Cabin and Le Vieux Salomon

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