Louisiana Creole LiteratureA Historical Study

Louisiana Creole LiteratureA Historical Study

Catharine Savage Brosman

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781617039102

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

Employing the language of standard literary criticism, this study treats two hundred years of distinctive writing connected to Louisiana in both French (nineteenth century chiefly) and English, from the early 1800s to the early 2000s, by Louisiana Creoles, their descendants, and sympathetic outsiders. The focus is on New Orleans and the surrounding area (Cajun folklore, entirely different, and recent Cajun texts are not considered). This substantial body of Creole literature has remained undervalued and its general trends and characteristics largely unexamined. Directed to literary scholars, historians, and students, the book treats authors chronologically and sometimes by genre. The singularity of Louisiana Creole culture and circumstances is brought out by two introductory chapters, the first a historical sketch; subsequent chapters examine important trends and authors. Among them are the Rouquette brothers, Alfred Mercier, Victor Séjour, Camille Thierry, Charles Testut, George Washington Cable, Kate Chopin, Grace King, Donald Demarest, and Brenda Marie Osbey. Pertinent publishing facts and personal information on authors are furnished, as well as summaries and descriptions of texts; generic and other aesthetic matters are considered in depth, and judgments are offered. Social questions are treated principally in the contexts in which the works were produced and the terms set forth at the time, rather than through a filtering ideological vision of today. Careful attention is paid to the mixed-race Gens de couleur libres or Free People of Color and their literary achievements in the nineteenth century. Connections with France and French literary movements are emphasized.