This essay seeks to add a set of novellas written by Raphaël Confiant between 1994 and 1997 to the ongoing conversation surrounding the Éloge de la créolité and its controversial legacy. In the nearly thirty years since its publication, the Éloge and its authors have been dispraised for their monomaniacal concern for the past and their phallocentric disregard for women’s critical role in the transmission of Antillean culture. Far from suggesting that these accusations are ill-founded, this essay contends that Confiant responded to the critiques and confronted the Éloge’s blindspots in his Trilogie tropicale. These exuberant works, which think through the effects of modernity, globalization, and cultural domination on contemporary Martinique, have been largely ignored, perhaps because they do not follow the poetic principles outlined in the Éloge. Rather than treating them apart from other créoliste writings, this essay proposes that they constitute a self-reflexive moment in Confiant’s oeuvre.
Departmental Dystopia: The Now and the Femme in Raphaël Confiant’s Trilogie tropicale
Corine Labridy-Stofle is a visiting assistant professor of French at Reed College, Portland. She specializes in contemporary Antillean and urban literatures and is particularly interested in works that deploy laughter strategies and dystopian tropes to signify the effects of mainstream culture on minoritized literary and artistic production. She was the managing editor of La Caricature, 1830–1835, a bilingual catalogue raisonné of the satirical journal’s complete lithographs, and she has written essays for Public Books and the CLR James Journal.
Corine Labridy-Stofle; Departmental Dystopia: The Now and the Femme in Raphaël Confiant’s Trilogie tropicale. Small Axe 1 November 2020; 24 (3 (63)): 1–15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8749734
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