Condé, Maryse (1937–)

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Condé, Maryse (1937–)

Maryse Condé is a Guadeloupean writer and teacher. She was born on 11 February 1937. After studying in Guadeloupe and Paris, Condé taught in Guinea, Ghana, and Senegal for twelve years. Returning to Paris in 1972, she began a doctoral thesis and helped produce her first play, "Le morne de Massabielle." Condé complained that her early novels were badly received in the Caribbean and Africa, but she enjoyed wide success with the first volume of her trilogy, Ségou, distributed by a French book club in 1984. Moi, Tituba sorcière … received the Grand Prix Littéraire de la Femme in 1987.

Condé writes of the search for Caribbean identity. She is an influential commentator on questions of the triple colonization of Caribbean women in sexist, racist, and colonialist cultures. She also writes novels for young people. Since 1986 she has lived both in the United States and in Guadeloupe. She has taught at various universities, including the Sorbonne, Harvard University, the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland, and the University of California at Berkeley. Her works include La colonie du nouveau monde (1993), La Migration des coeurs (1995), Desirada (1997), and Who Slashed Celanire's Throat? A Fantastical Tale (2004). In 2004 she retired from her post in the French department at Columbia University and became a professor emeritus. As of 2007, she lives in New York with her husband Richard Philcox, who has translated many of her works into English.

See alsoMartinique and Guadeloupe .


The Hills of Massabielle (theater, 1972), translated by Richard Philcox (1991); La mort d'Oluwémi d'Ajumako (theater, 1972); Hérémakhonon (novel, 1976), translated by Richard Philcox (1982); La civilisation du bossale (essay, 1978); La parole des femmes: Essai sur des romancières des Antilles de langue française (essay, 1979); Ségou, vol. 1, Les murailles de terre (1984), translated by Barbara Bray as Segu (1987); Ségou, vol. 2, La terre en miettes (novel, 1985), translated by Linda Coverdale as The Children of Segu (1989); Moi, Tituba sorcière … (novel, 1986), translated by Richard Philcox as I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, 1992; La vie scélérae (novel, 1987), translated by Victoria Reiter as Tree of Life (1992); Pension des Alizés (theater, 1988); Traversée de la mangrove (novel, 1989); Les derniers rois mages (novel, 1992).

See also Vèvè Clark, "I Have Made Peace with My Island: An Interview with Maryse Condé," in Callaloo 12:1 (1989), 85-133; Ann Armstrong Scarboro, I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, pp. 187-227; Callaloo 15:1 (1992), special issue on the literature of Guadeloupe and Martinique, edited by Condé.

Hewitt, Leah D. Autobiographical Tightropes: Simone de Beauvoir, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Duras, Monique Wittig, and Maryse Condé. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

                                     Carrol F. Coates

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