19th Century Novel from Guadeloupe with Foreword by a Modern Languages Researcher

2020-09-10

1790, a year into the French Revolution, two friends – a white creole and a mulatto – return to Guadeloupe from boarding school in France. But the world they encounter anew is not the one of the French Revolution. Slavery is still legal in the colonies and racial prejudice permeates society. It is a society far from the republican ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood. Can their friendship survive in a colonial slave society?

The novel ”Les Créoles ou La Vie aux Antilles” by Joseph Levilloux is one of the first novels from the Antilles. It was first published in 1835, a time marked by debate about slavery and interracial relations. Now the French publisher Èditions L’Harmattan has published a new critical edition of the novel. In a time when racial inequality, with deep historical roots, is once again a burning issue.

Christina Kullberg, associate professor in French literature at Uppsala University's Department of Modern Languages, has written the foreword for the new edition. A task that demanded problematising the novel and answering the question why an almost 200 years old books, with racial stereotypes, should be published and read today. One answer is that it can tell us something about where we are now and about the origins of today's situation.

Éditions L'Harmattan's presentation of the new edition (in French)

About the novel in the digital scholarly archive - Diva (på franska)

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Last modified: 2021-03-19