This review engages with fundamental questions regarding postcolonial canon formation and the marginalization of the Haitian Spiralist writers, the theory-centrism of postcolonial criticism, and “showing” versus “telling”—issues raised by Kaiama L. Glover's Haiti Unbound. Using as a point of departure Glover's key notions of “not-Paris” and “ex-centricity” regarding the critical reception of the Spiralists, this essay responds, Why only not-Paris? It argues that equally significant for this particular group of Haitian writers is the fact that they are also not-US (not-NYC) and not-Quebec (not-Montreal), as these represent, from a Haitian literary perspective, other crucial centers of publishing. Through analysis of the centrality of Haitian writers—including that most ultravocal Spiralist, Frankétienne—to the whole French Etonnants voyageurs project, the article argues that many Haitian writers are, in fact, what we could call becoming-France/becoming-Paris. Questioning the phenomenon of postcolonial star formations, as delineated by Graham Huggan and Chris Bongie, the essay also examines the inescapability of extra-literary factors, where Haitian literature is concerned, particularly in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.
Rachel Douglas; Theory versus Practice: On the Postcolonial Marginalization of Haitian Literature. Small Axe 1 November 2012; 16 (3 39): 188–198. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-1894177
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