D’une Obscure Polémique
In 1958, in the pages of the daily newspaper Port-au-Prince Le Nouvelliste one can read violent exchanges between two major writers, recognized internationally. Back from exile in the capital a few months apart, Jacques Stéphen Alexis and René Dépestre, the major actors of the Revolution of 1946, clash about the creation of the Port-au-Prince office of the African Society of Culture, whose principle had been recorded at the 1st Congress of the black writers and artists in 1956 at La Sorbonne. Famous, published, identified actors of the international communist movement, the two writers are opposed under the gaze of the Haitian society, and François Duvalier, elected president in 1957. The controversy rises in intensity for several weeks, and soon becomes an exchange accusations and taunts. The initial pretext gives way to radical cross-criticisms, which skew the aesthetic, political and anthropological conceptions of the two writers. But the violence of the tone ends up destroying the very meaning of the debate. During this period, however, is set up the violent and dictatorial police state, without it becoming possible to slow down this growth.
Keywords: African Society of Culture, communist movement, marvelous realism, Duvalier dictatorship, popular aestheticsSubmitted: May 28, 2019