What happens to a radical dream deferred? In Sensational Internationalism, J. Michelle Coghlan testifies that in the case of the Paris Commune, the brief dictatorship of the proletariat crushed by French troops in 1871, one such dream survived “as spectre and spectacle in late nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century” America (3). Floating across the Atlantic and around US print and visual cultures, trace memories of the commune’s firebrand pétroleuses and the siege of Paris that martyred them shook the sleep of American authors from Henry James to Guy Endore. In American Imperialism’s Undead, Raphael Dalleo contends that a later counterrevolution—the US occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934—came to haunt the freedom dreams of Caribbeans and African Americans accustomed to casting the island nation as proof “that black people could be agents of world history” (vii). Because the “very premises” (6) of Caribbean, postcolonial, and African diaspora studies, among others,...
Sensational Internationalism: The Paris Commune and the Remapping of American Memory in the Long Nineteenth Century
American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism
William J. Maxwell is professor of English and African and African American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches modern American and African American literatures. He is the author of F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature (2015), which won the American Book Award, and New Negro, Old Left: African American Writing and Communism between the Wars (1999). He is the editor of James Baldwin: The FBI File (2017) and of Claude McKay’s Complete Poems (2004). With Gary Holcomb, he has edited and introduced the first-ever publication of Claude McKay’s forgotten novel Romance in Marseille (2020).
William J. Maxwell; Sensational Internationalism: The Paris Commune and the Remapping of American Memory in the Long Nineteenth Century
American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism. American Literature 1 June 2020; 92 (2): 379–381. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-8267828
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