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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.

22 Dicembre 2020
01 Settembre 2020
23 Marzo 2020

Keywords: ParadoxLouis-Joseph JanvierNationalismHaiti

Copyright: © 2020 Yves Chemla. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.