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Asserting, Renewing, and Expanding: The Littérisation of Contemporary Haitian Literature


Asserting, Renewing, and Expanding: The Littérisation of Contemporary Haitian Literature

Herrmann-Bell, Bevin (2013) Asserting, Renewing, and Expanding: The Littérisation of Contemporary Haitian Literature. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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As a result of the “cultural turn” in translation studies, attention has shifted away from the back and forth study of source and target text and has begun to consider the many complexities that go into shaping a nation’s cultural space, as well as how literature, translations, and other expressions of culture are embedded within their social contexts. In studying the emergence of various types of translations in their respective socio-political contexts, it becomes apparent the production of these literary goods is influenced by both internal and external constraints on the literary system. This can be witnessed in the form of internal class, race, and power struggles, or the intrusion of external elements in the form of colonialism, post- and neo-colonialism, or the unequal distribution of symbolic capital held by monolithic literary and creative markets. However, these literary products can also play an important role in shaping the system itself.
This is especially true of emerging literary markets such as Haiti’s, where translations have often served as significant motivators for the development of an indigenous literary system as writers and translators respond to their postcolonial, socio-cultural, and political realities. Yet, while these creative and political (re)writing processes help to build an initial cultural capital for the emerging literary system, international consecration by way of competitive literary awards and translation into major languages brings otherwise marginalized national literary cultures into the realm of World Literature. In her seminal work, The World Republic of Letters, Pascale Casanova calls this process littérisation.
This thesis aims to trace one of the paths for the littérisation of contemporary Haitian literature. In so doing, I hope to reveal the significant role translation has played in propelling Haitian literature into the international domain. I will begin by describing the first examples of written Kreyòl through the early translations of French source texts. Next, I will discuss the push by writers like Félix Morisseau-Leroy to establish Kreyòl as a vehicle of popular poetics through the use of adversarial translations of Western Classics. In the following section, I will cover the growth and expansion of Kreyòl and popular poetics into new literary genres through the postmodernist rewritings of Frankétienne. Finally, I will explore how Haitian literature has had to translate new linguistic and cultural realities in the diasporic writings of Edwidge Danticat, leading me to conclude with where Haitian literature stands internationally today. The thesis will focus on specific instances where these Haitian writers mediated their particular circumstances through translation, resulting in watershed moments in the evolution of the literary system, and ultimately allowing for Haitian literature to rapidly evolve and expand over the course of the past century.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Études françaises
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Herrmann-Bell, Bevin
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:August 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Bandia, Paul
ID Code:977571
Deposited On:26 Nov 2013 15:31
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:44
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