Chauvet, Marie Vieux (1916–1973)

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Chauvet, Marie Vieux (1916–1973)

Marie Vieux Chauvet (b. 16 September 1916, d. 19 June 1973), Haitian novelist and playwright. Chauvet is the most widely known Haitian woman novelist, and yet her audience has remained restricted. She received early recognition for her first novel, Fille d'Haïti (1954), which received the prize of the Alliance Française. In Danse sur le volcan (1957), she brought a feminist perspective to bear on the Haitian Revolution, at a moment when women's movements were virtually nonexistent in Haiti. Fonds des Nègres (1960) depicts a young city woman who regains the taste for traditional culture when she is caught in a small town. Amour, colère et folie (1968) has received high critical acclaim for the combination of a lucid style and unadorned insights into the fearful grip of François Duvalier and his Tonton Macoutes on the Haitian bourgeoisie and intellectuals. It was banned in Haiti, however, and the Chauvet family bought back all rights. Les rapaces (1986) was published posthumously after the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier.

Although the Haitian political situation and a faltering literary establishment have kept Chauvet from gaining wide readership, she is increasingly recognized as a powerful writer and an early Haitian advocate of women's rights.

See alsoFeminism and Feminist Organizations .


Works by Marie Vieux Chauvet include: La légende des fleurs (play, 1947); La danse sur le volcan (novel, 1957), translated by Salvator Attanasio as Dance on the Volcano (1959); and Fonds des Nègres (novel, 1960).

Maryse Condé, La parole des femmes: Essais sur les romancières des Antilles de langue française (1979), pp. 98-110; Joan Dayan, "Reading Women in the Caribbean: Chauvet's Love, Anger, and Madness," in The Politics of Tradition, edited by Joan De Jean and Nancy Miller (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Dominique, Max. Esquisses critiques, Port-au-Prince: Editions Mémoire, 1999.

Shelton, Marie-Denise. "Hatian Women's Fiction." Call-aloo 15, no. 3 (Summer 1992): 770-777.

                                    Carrol F. Coates

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Chauvet, Marie Vieux (1916–1973)

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