Jean-Claude Charles: A Reader’s Guide

BookJean-Claude Charles: A Reader’s Guide

Jean-Claude Charles: A Reader’s Guide

Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures, 85


May 1st, 2022





Despite being a major figure of Haitian literature, Jean-Claude Charles (1949-2008) has received relatively little scholarly attention to date. The present volume seeks to serve as an introduction to the work and universe of this unique and capital writer to an English-language readership. The essays in the collection are organized along three major axes: contextual articles, placing Charles’ work within the larger Haitian literary landscape, punctual articles, addressing specific themes in a selection of Charles’ books, and author testimonials, attesting to Charles’ work’s importance both to his contemporaries and to a new generation of writers. With the ongoing republication of Charles’ work by Mémoire d’encrier in Montreal, and the increasing interest in the author, the proposed volume is timely and necessary, and is in large part a critical accompaniment to the republishing programme. Described by Dany Laferrière as “most brilliant Haitian author of his generation,” Charles has until recently remained largely unread and little understood. As the various chapters in the volume show, Charles is an author for now, and the collection will accompany readers seeking strikingly original insights on issues such as race, migration, and exile, and the role of the author and literature in times of crisis.

“This book is a welcome addition to the body of Haitian literary criticism. It occupies a unique place as it is the first and only volume entirely dedicated to the late Haitian writer Jean-Claude Charles.”
Marie-José Nzengou-Tayo

Author Information

Martin Munro is Eminent Scholar and Winthrop-King Professor of French and Francophone Studies. He is Director of the Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University. His previous publications include Tropical Apocalypse: Haiti and the Caribbean End Times (University of Virginia Press, 2015); Writing on the Fault Line: Haitian Literature and the Earthquake of 2010 (Liverpool University Press, 2014); Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas (University of California Press, 2010); and Exile and Post-1946 Haitian Literature: Alexis, Depestre, Ollivier, Laferrière, Danticat (Liverpool University Press, 2007). Eliana Văgălău is Assistant Professor of French at Loyola University Chicago.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Rodney Saint-Éloi, Welcome to the Land of Jean-Claude Charles
Editors’ Introduction, Martin Munro and Eliana Văgălău
Section One: Contexts
Joëlle Vitiello, Haitian Fugues: Jean-Claude Charles and the Haitian Literary Landscape
Eliana Văgălău, Between Haiti and the World: Jean-Claude Charles’ Enracinerrance
Vincent Joos, Writing against Difference: Racism and Confinement in Jean-Claude Charles’ Essays
Section Two: Texts and Analyses
Jasmine Claude Narcisse, Noir, Nègre et Négoce(s): Navigating Black Being through the 70s. A reading of Le Corps noir by Jean-Claude Charles”
J. Michael Dash, All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go: Jean-Claude Charles and “l’écriture du reel”
John P. Walsh, Jean-Claude Charles, Chronicler of the “Blues au longs cours”
Bonnie Thomas, Enracinerrance in Jean-Claude Charles’ Sainte dérive des cochons and Bamboola Bamboche
Michaël Ferrier, One Man Band: Music and Writing in the Work of Jean-Claude Charles
Stève Puig, America and the Blues in Jean-Claude Charles’ Free
Alexis Chauchois and Gilles Glacet, Jean-Claude Charles or writing the poto-mitan
Brigitte Tsobgny, Le Corps Noir: A Scientific Metaphor to Translate the Complexities of Racism
Alba Pessini, Retracing Baskets: A Creative Itinerary
Photo-essay: Patrick Bard, Girls Who Like Jazz Often Break the Heel of a Shoe…
Section Three: Family, Friends, and Peers
Elvire Duvelle-Charles and Cécile Duvelle, Jean-Claude Charles, A Mirror Life
Dany Laferrière, A Style
Thomas Spear, Straight, No Chaser
Edouard Duval-Carrié, From Port-au-Prince to Paris and Miami with Jean-Claude
Martine Fidèle, In search of self and of horizons: Jean-Claude Charles, the anguish of being…
Kettly Mars, Exile, Myths, and Jean-Claude Charles