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The Libertine Colony


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Presenting incisive original readings of French writing about the Caribbean from the inception of colonization in the 1640s until the onset of the Haitian Revolution in the 1790s, Doris Garraway sheds new light on a significant chapter in French colonial history. At the same time, she makes a pathbreaking contribution to the study of the cultural contact, creolization, and social transformation that resulted in one of the most profitable yet brutal slave societies in history. Garrawayandrsquo;s readings highlight how French colonial writers characterized the Caribbean as a space of spiritual, social, and moral depravity. While tracing this critique in colonial accounts of Island Carib cultures, piracy, spirit beliefs, slavery, miscegenation, and incest, Garraway develops a theory of andldquo;the libertine colony.andrdquo; She argues that desire and sexuality were fundamental to practices of domination, laws of exclusion, and constructions of race in the slave societies of the colonial French Caribbean.

Among the texts Garraway analyzes are missionary histories by Jean-Baptiste Du Tertre, Raymond Breton, and Jean-Baptiste Labat; narratives of adventure and transgression written by pirates and others outside the official civil and religious power structures; travel accounts; treatises on slavery and colonial administration in Saint-Domingue; the first colonial novel written in French; and the earliest linguistic description of the native Carib language. Garraway also analyzes legislationandmdash;including the Code noirandmdash;that codified slavery and other racialized power relations. The Libertine Colony is both a rich cultural history of creolization as revealed in Francophone colonial literature and an important contribution to theoretical arguments about how literary critics and historians should approach colonial discourse and cultural representations of slave societies.


Explores the founding discourses of race, hybridity, savagery, and degenercy in the seventeenth and eighteenth century French Caribbean, in particular the way many of these discourses were used to describe French settlers.

About the Author

Doris Garraway is Assistant Professor of French at Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Introduction: Creolization in the Old Regime 1

1. Border of Violence, Border of Desire: The French and the Island Caribs 39

2. Domestication and the White Noble Savage 93

3. Creolization and the Spirit World: Demons, Violence, and the Body 146

4. The Libertine Colony: Desire, Miscegenation, and the Law 194

5. Race, Reproduction, and Family Romance in Saint-Domingue 240

Conclusion 293

Notes 299

Works Cited 371

Index 401

Product Details

Garraway, Doris
Duke University Press
Garraway, Doris Lorraine
Garraway, Doris L.
Europe - France
Anthropology - Cultural
World - Colonial Studies
Caribbean & West Indies - General
West Indian literature (French) -
Slavery -- West Indies, French -- History.
Caribbean & West Indies
World History-Caribbean
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
John Hope Franklin Center Book
Publication Date:
19 bandw photos
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » Caribbean
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » France » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

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Product details 408 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822334651 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Explores the founding discourses of race, hybridity, savagery, and degenercy in the seventeenth and eighteenth century French Caribbean, in particular the way many of these discourses were used to describe French settlers.
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