Zenosbooks

Dance On The Volcano by Marie Chauvet. New York. 1959. William Sloane Associates. Translated From The French By Salvator Attanasio. 376 pages. Jacket design by Charles Walker.

 

dance on the volcanoFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   18th-century Haiti: gaiety hid smouldering violence, the 'dance on the volcano. ' Lovely young Minette sang her way to fame - to tragedy and great love. If you read for history, here are the political and emotional tides, the passionate men and women who brought about the Slave Rebellions of Haiti which were sparked by the French Revolution. If you read for drama, it is in every mood and movement of the story, Minette was the first colored person to entertain a white audience in Port-au-Prince, She became a great star. She also became passionately involved in the fight for freedom. The Comedie du Port-au-Prince was desperate for new talent when Minette made her appearance. The daughter of a freed slave and a white planter, she had a voice in a thousand. And she was lovely, with her creamy skin and great, slanted eyes. Excited crowds applauded her to fame. But she met the pain and humiliation of prejudice, too; met them with pride. She reached out for love - and thought she had found it in Jean Baptiste Papointe, a man of color who had risen to the status of a rich planter with slaves of his own. Warped by his struggle against bitter prejudice, he could be hard and cruel. But he needed Minette's love. These two and the people around them give the rich texture of living history to this exceptionally fine story. It is based on contemporary records, Through them Mme. Chauvet, Haitian herself, recaptures the vivid life of the island - the white creoles, the people of color, the French military - along with the tragedy and hopes and heroism of the time. 

 

 

Vieux Chauvet MarieMarie Vieux Chauvet (1916–1973) was a Haitian novelist. Born and educated in Port-au-Prince, her most famous works were the novels Fille d'Haïti (1954), La Danse sur le Volcan (1957), Fonds des Nègres (1961), and Amour, Colère, Folie (1969). The trilogy Amour, Colère, Folie was published by Gallimard press in Paris with the support of Simone de Beauvoir. The trilogy was perceived as an attack on the Haitian despot François Duvalier. Fearing the dictator's legions of Tonton Macoutes, her husband bought all the copies of the book he could find in Haiti, and Chauvet's daughters bought the remaining copies from Gallimard in Paris a few years later. She died in the United States of America.

 



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