Laleau, Léon (1892–1979)

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Laleau, Léon (1892–1979)

Léon Laleau (b. 3 August 1892; d. 1979), Haitian writer, journalist, and diplomat. Léopold Sédar Senghor cited Laleau as "one of the best representatives among Haitian poets using the vein of blackness." Laleau made many contacts with European and Latin American writers during his diplomatic assignments in Rome, Paris, London, Lima, and Santiago de Chile. Influenced by French symbolism at first, he later became acutely conscious of the catastrophic effects of the U.S. occupation of Haiti (1915–1934). He began to move toward the writers of La revue indigène and to use Haitian themes in the volume of verse, Musique nègre (1931), and in his novel about the occupation, Le choc (1932). Laleau also managed Haïti journal, Le nouvelliste, and Le matin at different periods. He wrote for the Mercure de France, Le divan, Le Figaro littéraire, and Paris soir, among other French journals. A collective volume of Laleau's Oeuvre poétique ("À voix basse," 1919; "La flèche au coeur," 1926; "Le rayon des jupes," 1928; "Abréviations," 1929; "Musique nègre," 1931; "De bronze et d'ivoire," 1978) won the literary prize of Éditions Henri Deschamps for 1978.

Other works include Amitiés impossibles (theater, with Georges Léger, 1916); Une cause sans effet (theater, 1916); L'étau (theater, 1917); La pluie et le beau temps (theater, 1919); La danse des vagues (novel, 1919); Le tremplin (theater, 1921); Maurice Rostand intime (biography, 1926); and Apothéoses (essays, 1952).

See alsoHaiti; Literature: Latin America.


F. Raphaël Berrou and Pradel Pompilus, Histoire de la littérature haïtienne illustrée par les textes, vol. 2 (1975), pp. 480-514, 666-691, 737-750.

Conjonction, nos. 87-88 (1963), special issue dedicated to Laleau.

Naomi M. Garret, The Renaissance of Haitian Poetry (1963), pp. 48-50; 139-144.

Additional Bibliography

Charles, Christophe. Littérature haïtienne. Port-au-Prince: Editions Choucoune, 2001.

                                     Carrol F. Coates