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Research Article

Mélancolie de Janvier

Yves Chemla    Université Paris Descartes, France    



The question of the nationalism of the Haitian writer Louis-Joseph Janvier (1855-1911) is more complex than it seems on the surface. An all-pervading theme in most of his texts, the nationalist imperative takes on different forms, the majority of which are based on facts which occurred at the time Janvier was writing. Janvier tries to exhaust the subject by establishing the facts and by challenging beliefs. He desperately tries to portray a positive, benevolent, welcoming image of Haitian nationalism, but as is often the case, this figure is also made up of contradictory aspects, which have been present since its emergence at the time of the French Revolution, and which undoubtedly found one of its first political expressions at the battle of Valmy, in September 1792. Janvier has thus to overcome the dissatisfaction that accompanies Haitian nationalism for its underlying exclusiveness. These paradoxical relationships of the author with the national founding ideal undergo significant changes throughout his career as an essayist, pamphleteer and novelist, diplomat and politician, ranging from the severe judgment, even contempt, for those who dispute the basis of this requirement to the radical criticism of an ideology which reveals its dark and deadly face. The proposed contribution seeks first to identify, through texts of various origins, the themes, the facts or just the simple echoes of this idea of nation that seems to run through Janvier’s text.

Keywords: Haiti. Nationalism. Louis-Joseph Janvier. Paradox.

Language: fr

Submitted: March 23, 2020
Accepted: Sept. 1, 2020
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/Tol/2499-5975/2020/01/031

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License