The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade

The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade

by Christopher L. Miller
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0822341514

ISBN-13: 9780822341512

Pub. Date: 01/11/2008

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

The French slave trade forced more than one million Africans across the Atlantic to the islands of the Caribbean. It enabled France to establish Saint-Domingue, the single richest colony on earth, and it connected France, Africa, and the Caribbean permanently. Yet the impact of the slave trade on the cultures of France and its colonies has received surprisingly

Overview

The French slave trade forced more than one million Africans across the Atlantic to the islands of the Caribbean. It enabled France to establish Saint-Domingue, the single richest colony on earth, and it connected France, Africa, and the Caribbean permanently. Yet the impact of the slave trade on the cultures of France and its colonies has received surprisingly little attention. Until recently, France had not publicly acknowledged its history as a major slave-trading power. The distinguished scholar Christopher L. Miller proposes a thorough assessment of the French slave trade and its cultural ramifications, in a broad, circum-Atlantic inquiry. This magisterial work is the first comprehensive examination of the French Atlantic slave trade and its consequences as represented in the history, literature, and film of France and its former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean.

Miller offers a historical introduction to the cultural and economic dynamics of the French slave trade, and he shows how Enlightenment thinkers such as Montesquieu and Voltaire mused about the enslavement of Africans, while Rousseau ignored it. He follows the twists and turns of attitude regarding the slave trade through the works of late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century French writers, including Olympe de Gouges, Madame de Staël, Madame de Duras, Prosper Mérimée, and Eugène Sue. For these authors, the slave trade was variously an object of sentiment, a moral conundrum, or an entertaining high-seas “adventure.” Turning to twentieth-century literature and film, Miller describes how artists from Africa and the Caribbean—including the writers Aimé Césaire, Maryse Condé, and Edouard Glissant, and the filmmakers Ousmane Sembene, Guy Deslauriers, and Roger Gnoan M’Bala—have confronted the aftermath of France’s slave trade, attempting to bridge the gaps between silence and disclosure, forgetfulness and memory.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822341512
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
01/11/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
592
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Abbreviations xv

Part One. The French Atlantic

1. Introduction 3

2. Around the Triangle 40

3. The Slave Trade in the Enlightenment 62

4. The Veeritions of History 83

Part Two. French Women Writers: Revolution, Abolitionist Translation, Sentiment (1783-1823)

5. Gendering Abolitionism 99

6. Olympe de Gouges, "Earwitness to the Ills of America" 109

7. Madame de Stael, Mirza, and Pauline: Atlantic Memories 141

8. Duras and Her Ourika, "The Ultimate House Slave" 158

Conclusion to Part Two 174

Part Three. French Male Writers:Restoration, Abolition, Entertainment

9. Tamango around the Atlantic: Concatenations of Revolt 179

10. Forget haiti: Baron Roger and the New Africa 246

11. Homosociality, Reckoning, and Recognition in Eugene Sue's Atar-Gull 274

12. Edouard Corbiere, "Mating," and Maritime Adventure 300

Part Four. The Triangle from "Below"

13. Cesaire, Glissant, Conde: Reimagining the Atlantic 325

14. African "Silence" 364

Conclusion: Reckoning, Reparation, and the Value of Fictions 385

Notes 391

Bibliography 527

Index 547

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