Critical Edition of Haitian Writer Roger Dorsinville’s Memoirs of Haiti

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“The availability of Roger Dorsinville’s work in English is a rewarding experience for readers outside the Francophone world…. Memoirs of Haiti is indeed a welcome and necessary addition to the body of postcolonial work. Ostensibly about Roger Dorsinville’s personal recollections of twentieth-century Haitian history, these memoirs are rich in backgrounding the rise of the Duvalier regime due to the ‘turpitudes’ locking Haiti’s intellectual and socio-political elite into a pattern of repetition…. Rather than rehash ad nauseam the nightmarish stereotypes of Haitian history, Roger Dorsinville raises our understanding through his discourse crisscrossing time and space…. The duality of surface and depth, as demonstrated in this book, is analogous to the argument made by the author regarding the distinction between written and spoken language, or the subtle distinction between the past time of events, and the present time of recollection…. It also sets the stage for the concluding contributions that analyze Memoirs of Haiti from a variety of literary perspectives…. This is a remarkable critical edition that conforms to the expected standards of literary scholarship while it enlightens the undeniable merit of an original narrative of history.” - Marie Hélène Laforest, Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples

“Commentators will certainly pore over Memoirs of Haiti and focus on what is said and left unsaid by Roger Dorsinville about his personal journey through Haitian history… In the Introduction, and in an essay, Max Dorsinville… inscribes his uncle’s memoirs in the context of Roger Dorsinville’s literary and cultural work in Haiti and Africa…. In a concluding essay, Claude Moïse engages in a political reading of the book that argues for its profound meaning and visionary quality.” – Cary Hector, Université Notre-Dame d’Haïti .

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
· Preface by Marie Hélène Laforest
· Foreword by Cary Hector
· Introduction
· Memoirs of Haiti: Childhood, Birth of the Father; Emerging Black Consciousness; Schooldays; Flashbacks; Military School; Pérard Affair; My prisons; Nationalism-1930; Merry-Go-Round; Elie Lescot; Five Glorious Days (7-11 January, 1946); First Military Junta; Estimé’s Chief of Staff; Some Affairs of the Time (Astrel Roland, Gérard Viaud, Jean Rémy); Prisoner then Minister; Collusions and Sumptuosities; Duvalier; Cultural Life; Writer; Walking Backward
· Epilogue
· Obituary
· Appendices:
· ”Reading and Listening to Memoirs of Haiti,” article by Claude Moïse
· “The Calixte Conspiracy,” Defense Plea by Roger Dorsinville
· “I Remember Roger Dorsinville, the Haitian Evangelist,” testimony by Daniel Gay
· “What is to be Done,” poem by Roger Dorsinville
· “Language and Mask in Roger Dorsinville’s African Fiction,” article by Max Dorsinville
· “Autobiography and Memoirs of Haiti,” article by Jean L. Prophète
· “Emerging from the Shadow of the Father: Memoirs of Haiti,” article by Amber Austin
· “Coming Out of Exile on a Jazz Beat: Memoirs of Haiti,” article by Tracy-Beck Fenwick
· “The Call-and-Response Form of Memoirs of Haiti,” article by Michelle Holmes
· “On Carnival and Memoirs of Haiti,” article by Johanna Neuschwander
Bibliography; Index

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