Christie Margrave, Eco-regional Identities in the 19th-Century French Caribbean Novel: Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina and Bergeaud’s Stella

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:

 

Eco-regional Identities in the 19th-Century French Caribbean Novel: Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina and Bergeaud’s Stella

Thursday 21 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

 

Caribbean literature ‘has continuously addressed, rather than belatedly discovered, its commitment to the environment’. Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina (1806) and Bergeaud’s Stella (1859) prove this. These novels portray a Caribbean landscape severely altered by plantation economy and industrial change. They call for conservation of landscape and the establishment of a new identity based on an eco-conscious society. Traversay argues for new identities based on the conservation of land for the purposes of fulfilling colonial needs, whilst Bergeaud argues that restoring a suppressed voice amid forests, mountains and rivers fosters a new identity which leads to the foundation of a free society. Examining these understudied novels through the lens of postcolonial ecocriticism allows us to understand how Francophone colonial authors perceived the history of the land to be inseparable from socio-political history on both a regional and an international level. Ultimately, both novels foreground landscape as a participant in the changing nature of France and her colonies, and allow us to map the colonial metropole’s relationship to non-metropolitan space.

 

Christie Margrave joined the ANU as a Lecturer in French in February 2019. She previously worked as a Lecturer at Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff Universities in Wales. Her monograph Writing the Landscape: Exposing Nature in French Women’s Fiction, 1789-1815 is in press with Legenda. Her new research project aims to shed light on the French novel of the late 18th-early 19th centuries by reading it through an environmental lens, contributing to the burgeoning field of ecocriticism, especially in ecofeminism, eco-postcolonialism and ecotheology.