Writing on the Fault Line

Haitian Literature and the Earthquake of 2010

Martin Munro

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ISBN: 9781781381465

Publication: December 31, 2014

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 35

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What are the effects of a catastrophic earthquake on a society, its culture and politics? Which of these effects are temporary, and which endure? Are the various effects immediately discernible, or do they manifest themselves over time? What roles do artists, and writers in particular have in witnessing, bearing testimony to, and gauging the effects of natural disasters? What is the worth of literature in a time of disaster? These are the fundamental questions addressed in this book, which examines the case of the Haitian earthquake of 12 January 2010, a uniquely destructive event in the recent history of cataclysmic disasters, in Haiti and the broader world. The book argues that Haitian literature since 2010 has played a primary role in recording, bearing testimony to, and engaging with the social and psychological effects of the disaster. It further shows that daring literary invention—what Edwidge Danticat calls “dangerous creation”—constitutes one of the most striking and important means of communicating the effects of such a disaster, and that close engagement with the creative imagination is one of the most privileged ways for the outsider in particular to begin to comprehend the experience of living in and through a time of catastrophe.

Martin Munro is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University, and the author of Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas (University of California Press, 2010); Exile and Post-1946 Haitian Literature: Alexis, Depestre, Ollivier, Laferrière, Danticat (Liverpool University Press, 2007); and editor of Haiti Rising: Haitian History, Culture and the Earthquake of 2010 (Liverpool University Press, 2010).

Introduction: Reading the Ruins 1. Going Public: The Post-earthquake Essay 2. Broken Bodies: Makenzy Orcel, Marvin Victor, and the New Haitian Novel 3. Broken Lands: Gary Victor, Kettly Mars, and Post-earthquake Fiction 4. Not Writing Disaster: The Earthquake as Non-event in the Haitian Novel 2010-2014 5. Writing the “Haitian Soul”: Post-earthquake Poetry Conclusion: New Lands Bibliography Index

Over many years, Martin Munro’s work has been mapping the cultural imprint of Haitian history. Along with several other groundbreaking critics, whose thinking he draws upon,he has made Haiti more approachable (especially for the Anglophone world).

Mary Gallagher   L'Esprit Créateur

Writing on the Fault Line is a tour de force; the definitive statement on the effects of a devastating earthquake on Haiti’s literary production.
Rachel Douglas  
University of Glasgow

In the wake of Haiti's tragic 2010 earthquake, Dany Laferriere called for an imaginative rethinking of a new Haiti reborn from the disaster. In his thorough and perceptive survey of Haitian post-earthquake literature, Martin Munro examines the literary legacy of catastrophe. More than literary therapy, this new phase of Haitian writing emphasizes reconstruction as a subjective, human endeavor and engages with a changed view of Haitian space, collective values, tolerance and hospitality which are the key to Haiti’s recovery from this disaster. Writing on the Fault line is as timely as it is welcome.
J. Michael Dash  
New York University

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

288 Pages

ISBN: 9781781381465

Publication: December 31, 2014

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 35

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