On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Maria Cristina Fumagalli

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ISBN: 9781786941305

Publication: March 23, 2018

Series: American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography 4

In the USA? Buy the Paperback US edition
On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is a literary and cultural history which brings to the fore a compelling but, so far, largely neglected body of work which has the politics of borderline-crossing as well as the poetics of borderland-dwelling on Hispaniola at its core. Over thirty fictional and non-fictional literary texts (novels, biographical narratives, memoirs, plays, poems, and travel writing), are given detailed attention alongside journalism, geo-political-historical accounts of the status quo on the island, and striking visual interventions (films, sculptures, paintings, photographs, videos and artistic performances), many of which are sustained and complemented by different forms of writing (newspaper cuttings, graffiti, captions, song lyrics, screenplay, tattoos). Dominican, Dominican-American, Haitian and Haitian-American writers and artists are put in dialogue with authors who were born in Europe, the rest of the Americas, Algeria, New Zealand, and Japan in order to illuminate some of the processes and histories that have woven and continue to weave the texture of the borderland and the complex web of border relations on the island. Particular attention is paid to the causes, unfolding, and immediate aftermath of the 1791 slave revolt, the 1937 massacre of Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans in the Dominican Northern borderland as well as to recent events and topical issues such as the 2010 earthquake, migration, and environmental degradation. On the Edge is an invaluable multicultural archive for those who want to engage fully with the past and present of Hispaniola and refuse to comply with the idea that an acceptable future is unattainable.

Maria Cristina Fumagalli is Professor of Literature at the University of Essex. She is the author of 'Caribbean Perspectives on Modernity: Returning Medusa's Gaze' (University of Virginia Press, 2009) and co-editor of 'Surveying the American Tropics: A Literary Geography from New York to Rio' (LUP, 2013).

Acknowledgements List of illustrations and maps A note on translations Introduction: On the edge: border-crossing, borderland-dwelling and the music of what happens Chapter One: Landscaping Hispaniola: Landscaping Hispaniola: Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry and border politics Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry, Description Topographique et Politique de la partie espagnole de l’Isle Saint-Domingue (1796) and Description Topographique, Physique, Civile, Politique et Historique de la partie française de l’Isle Saint-Domingue (1797). Chapter Two: The 1791 Revolt and the borderland from below Récit Historique sur les Évenemens qui se sont succédés dans les camps de la Grande-Rivière, du Dondon, de Ste.-Suzanne et autres depuis le 26 Octobre 1791 jusqu’au 24 Decembre de la même année par M. Gros, Procureur-Syndic de Valière, fait prisonnier par Jeannot, chef des Brigands, AUGMENTÉ du Récit historique du citoyen Thibal, Médecin et Habitant de la Paroisse Sainte-Suzanne, détenu prisonnier, par les Brigands, depuis 16 mois et de la Déclaration du Citoyen Fauconnet, faite à la Municipalité le 16 Joun 1792 (1793), Victor Hugo, Bug-Jargal (1819 and 1826) and ‘The Saint Domingue Revolt’ (1845), Jean-Baptiste Picquenard, Adonis, ou le bon nègre (1798) and Zoflora, ou la bonne negrèsse (1801), Madison Smartt Bell, All Souls’ Rising (1995). Chapter Three: This place was here before our nations: Anacaona’s Jaragua Salome Ureña de Henriquez, Anacaona (1880); Jean Métellus, Anacaona (1986); Edwidge Danticat, Anacaona: Golden Flower: Haiti, 1490 (2005). Chapter Four: Servants Turned Masters: Santo Domingo and the black revolt Carlos Esteban Deive, Viento Negro, Bosque del Caimán: Novela (2002). Chapter Five: A fragile and beautiful world: the northern borderland and the 1937 massacre José Martí, War Diaries (1895), Manuel Rueda, Bienvenida y la noche: Crónicas de Montecristi (1994), Freddy Prestol Castillo, El Masacre se pasa a pie (1937;1973) and Paisajes y meditaciones de una frontera (1943), Manuel Rueda, La criatura terrestre (1963). Chapter Six: The dream of creating one people from two lands mixed together: 1937 and borderland Utopia Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, El hombre del acordeón (2003), Jacques Stephen Alexis, ‘Of the Marvellous Realism of the Haitians’ (1956) and Compère Général Soleil (1955), René Philoctète, Le peuple des terres mêlée (1989), Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones (1998). Chapter Seven: A geography of living flesh: bearing the unbearable Sergio Reyes, Cuentos y Leyendas de la Frontera (1996), La Fiesta de los Reyes y otros cuentos de la frontera (2004), and ‘La Vigía: destellos del “Sol Naciente” en la frontera’ (2009), Kenzaburo Oe, Sayonara, watashi no yon yo! (2005), Anthony Lespès, Les semences de la colère (1949), Jesús María Ramírez, Mis 43 años en La Descubierta (2000), Luis Vencedor Bello Mancebo, Memorias de Pedernales: Vencedor Bello y Alcoa Exploration Co (2013), Bernard Diederich, Seeds of Fictions: Graham Greene Adventures in Haiti and Central America 1954-1983 (2012) and Graham Greene, The Comedians (1966). Chapter Eight: The forgotten heart-breaking epic of border struggle Diego D’Alcalá, La Frontera (1994), Manuel Rueda, La criatura terrestre (1963) and Las metamorfosis de Makandal (1998), Perico Ripiao (2003) directed by Ángel Muñiz and written by Reynaldo Disla and Ángel Muñiz, Maurice Lemoine, Sucre Amer: Esclaves aujourd’hui dans les Caraïbes (1981), Gary Klang, L’île aux deux visages (1997). Chapter Nine: Some are born to endless night: structural violence across-the-border Hulda Guzmán, Some are born to sweet delight (2011), Máximo Avilés Blonda, Pirámide 179 (1968), Alanna Lockward, Un Haití Dominicano: Tatuajes Fantasmas y Narrativas Bilaterales -1994-1998 (2011), Louis-Philippe Dalembert’s L’Autre Face de la mer (1998), Evelyne Trouillot, Le bleu de l’île (2005), Jean-Noël Pancrazi, Montecristi (2009), Jean Gentil (2010) written and directed by Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán. Chapter Ten: Borderlands of the mind: present, past, and future Frank Báez , ‘Ahora es nunca’ (2007), Jacques Stephen Alexis, Les Arbres Musiciens (1957), Carlos Mieses, El día de todos (2008), Junot Díaz, ‘Monstro’ (2012) Chapter Eleven: The writing is on the wall: towards an open island and a complete structure Francisco (Pancho) Rodríguez, Que si fuere mil veces (2012), Rita Indiana Hernández and Los Misterios, ‘Da pa lo do’ (2010) and ‘Da pa lo do,’ video directed by Engel Leonardo, Jean-Philippe Moiseau, Palm Mask (2009), Metal Mask (2011) and Les rêves du cireur de bottes / Los sueños del limpia botas / Yon chanj kap reve (2012), David Pérez -Karmadavis, Isla Cerrada (2010), Isla Abierta (2006), Lo que dice la piel (2005), Trata, (2005), Simétrico (2006), Al tramo izquierdo (2006), Estructura Completa (2010). Conclusion: The rejection of futures past: on the edge of an attainable acceptable future? Polibio Díaz, Manifiesto (2013) Bibliography Index

This exhaustively researched book is a must read for literary scholars and historians of Hispaniola, the Caribbean, and the Latin American borderlands, and serves as a crucial reminder that the current wave of anti-Haitianism is not the only narrative of Haitian–Dominican relations.
Lauren Derby, Journal of Borderland Studies

Maria Cristina Fumagalli’s remarkable On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic offers the most richly nuanced study of the Haiti-Dominican border to date. Anchored in a detailed understanding of the history of this complex and deeply conflicted contact zone, and offering insightful readings of the broadest possible range of literary and artistic works, the book challenges static representations of the border, offering in their stead innovative and multi-layered interpretations of the role of mobility and permeability in creating a multi-ethnic transnational territory that both bridges and separates the peoples of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The book’s depth of research and analysis will make it the must-read study for anyone interested in this often-misunderstood contact zone.
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert  
Vassar College

On The Edge: Writing the Border Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic focuses on the border region of the Caribbean island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, delivering a ground-breaking literary and cultural history of magisterial scale.
Bridget Wooding  
Director of the Observatorio Migrantes del Caribe, Santo Domingo

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

320 Pages

ISBN: 9781786941305

Publication: March 23, 2018

Series: American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography 4

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