Date of Degree

9-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

French

Advisor(s)

Maxime Blanchard

Committee Members

Vincent Crapanzano

Jerry Carlson

Subject Categories

French and Francophone Language and Literature

Keywords

paganisme, Haiti, vodou, marxisme, Nietzsche, metissage

Abstract

My goal in this thesis is to show that the different metamorphoses of René Depestre’s works can be schematized under two determinant stages in which the author’s paganism has different functions and significations. In the first stage, his paganism gives him the tools for his revolt that is purely artistic and existential before it becomes political on account of the author’s discovery of the socialist realism. In the second stage that follows the break of Depestre with Marxism as well as his reevaluation of the Négritude ideology, his paganism becomes truly Dionysian, in the Nietzschean sense of the word, to contribute to what the Haitian writer calls an “aesthetical synergy” in which l’érotisme solaire, laughter, feast, the death/life complicity and “le merveilleux original” (the original supernatural) are celebrated. In this stage, the pagan elements are no longer in the service of a political resentment. They become reasons to write and celebrate life.

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