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Bearing the Burden of Loss: Melancholic Agency in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, FMC

Bearing the Burden of Loss: Melancholic Agency in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, FMC Bearing the Burden of Loss: Melancholic Agency in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, FMC by Lynn R. Johnson Although a number of scholars have focused on the titular protag- onist in analyzing the arbitrary constructions of race and the performances of racial identities in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, FMC, few have fully explored the ways in which the author deploys the novel to “personify history and create entities that represent those people who seem lost to the offi cial record but demand attention nevertheless” (Tettenborn 114). Indeed, Chesnutt embeds in the main plotline of Paul Marchand, FMC an account of the subject an enslaved black Saint-Dominguan woman formation of Zabet Philosophe, who, at the behest of her owner, fl ees Haiti with her master’s children during the 1793 revolution and later infl uences the destiny of the wealthy Beaurepas family of New Orleans. As I argue, Zabet Philosophe’s biographical narrative is developed as a response to white Saint-Dominguan refugees’ historical erasure of black Haitians’ subjectivity in their descriptions of the war and their trans- national emigration to the United States. Th rough Zabet’s story, Chesnutt, consequently, endows the cake woman with the authority to reveal the black refugee’s http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Bearing the Burden of Loss: Melancholic Agency in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, FMC

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 47 (1) – May 29, 2015

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Bearing the Burden of Loss: Melancholic Agency in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, FMC by Lynn R. Johnson Although a number of scholars have focused on the titular protag- onist in analyzing the arbitrary constructions of race and the performances of racial identities in Charles W. Chesnutt’s Paul Marchand, FMC, few have fully explored the ways in which the author deploys the novel to “personify history and create entities that represent those people who seem lost to the offi cial record but demand attention nevertheless” (Tettenborn 114). Indeed, Chesnutt embeds in the main plotline of Paul Marchand, FMC an account of the subject an enslaved black Saint-Dominguan woman formation of Zabet Philosophe, who, at the behest of her owner, fl ees Haiti with her master’s children during the 1793 revolution and later infl uences the destiny of the wealthy Beaurepas family of New Orleans. As I argue, Zabet Philosophe’s biographical narrative is developed as a response to white Saint-Dominguan refugees’ historical erasure of black Haitians’ subjectivity in their descriptions of the war and their trans- national emigration to the United States. Th rough Zabet’s story, Chesnutt, consequently, endows the cake woman with the authority to reveal the black refugee’s

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 29, 2015

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