[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]
Four Black History Months ago I blogged about Alexandre Dumas’s neglected status as a black writer. France’s most commercially successful writer, the author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo was also the grandson of a freed Haitian slave; in response to a racial insult he once responded: “It is true. My father was a mulatto, my grandmother was a negress, and my great-grandparents were monkeys. In short, sir, my pedigree begins where yours ends.”
It would be fun to see a conference on issues of race and slavery in French romantic literature, organised around Dumas’s Georges, Hugo’s Bug-Jargal (which I see is also out in a new translation), and Verne’s A Captain at Fifteen (which desperately needs a new translation).