Durand, Oswald (1840–1906)

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Durand, Oswald (1840–1906)

Oswald Durand (b. 17 September 1840; d. 22 April 1906), Haitian writer, journalist, and politician. Durand began work as a tinsmith and studied at night. He became a lycée principal and went into politics in 1885. After being elected president of the Chambre des Députés in 1888, he traveled to France and was introduced to the "Société des Gens de Lettres" by François Coppée. Upon his death in 1906, he was given a state funeral and was praised as the greatest Haitian poet.

The poetry of Durand was often an erotic evocation of the women he loved (he was divorced for philandering by the poet Virginie Sampeur), but he also evoked simple people and the landscapes and traditions of Haiti. Some poems in Creole contributed to the recognition of the language's literary citizenship.

Other works include Rires et pleurs (1896); Quatre nouveaux poèmes (1900). Mosaïques and Primes fleurs et ballades are both unpublished.

See alsoCreole; Haiti.


Naomi M. Garret, The Renaissance of Haitian Poetry (1963), pp. 30-33; See also F. Raphaël Berrou and Pradel Pompilus, Histoire de la littérature haïtienne illustrée par les textes, vol. 1 (1975), pp. 322-396.

Additional Bibliography

Charles, Christophe. La vie sentimentale du poète Oswald Durand. Port-au-Prince: Choucoune, 2005.

                                      Carrol F. Coates

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Durand, Oswald (1840–1906)

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