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Louisiana Creole Literature - A Historical Study

Louisiana Creole Literature

A Historical Study

By Catharine Savage Brosman
Hardcover : 9781617039102, 256 pages, October 2013

A broad overview of the tremendous achievement of Louisiana writers in the Creole tradition


Louisiana Creole Literature is a broad-ranging critical reading of belles lettres—in both French and English—connected to and generally produced by the distinctive Louisiana Creole peoples, chiefly in the southeastern part of the state. The book covers primarily the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the flourishing period during which the term Creolehad broad and contested cultural reference in Louisiana.

The study consists in part of literary history and biography. When available and appropriate, each discussion—arranged chronologically—provides pertinent personal information on authors, as well as publishing facts. Readers will find also summaries and evaluation of key texts, some virtually unknown, others of difficult access. Brosman illuminates the biographies and works of Kate Chopin, Lafcadio Hearn, George Washington Cable, Grace King, and Adolphe Duhart, among others. In addition, she challenges views that appear to be skewed regarding canon formation. The book places emphasis on poetry and fiction, reaching from early nineteenth-century writing through the twentieth century to selected works by poets still writing in the early twenty-first century. A few plays are treated also, especially by Victor Séjour. Louisiana Creole Literatureexamines at length the writings of important Francophone figures, and certain Anglophone novelists likewise receive extended treatment. Since much of nineteenth-century Louisiana literature was transnational, the book considers Creole-based works which appeared in Paris as well as those published locally.


"Brosman's mastery of history and biography, her summaries of literary texts, and her commentary have comprehensiveness, depth, and originality. Her study is a touchstone for those scholars, critics, and readers who wish to understand the depths, complexities, and pleasures of Creole literature. "

- Maurice W. DuQuesnay, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana History

"Louisiana Creole Literature: A Historical Study is a well-documented and engrossing scholarly account that analyzes and does much to valorize the longstanding multicultural and multilingual literary history of this unique American state. "

- Eric Sellin, professor emeritus of French and Francophone literature at Tulane University, New Orleans

"We have waited long for just such a book, and Professor Brosman has rewarded our waiting more than handsomely. Scorning tendentious literary 'theory' in favor of hard scholarship and sensitive close reading, she has opened a varied and vital Francophone tradition in American letters to future systematic study, at the same time shedding new light on Anglophone 'interlopers' like Cable, King, and Chopin. Our study of American literature, especially in the South, will never again be quite so insular. This is literary history and criticism of a high order, foundational in the fullest sense. "

- William Bedford Clark, professor of English at Texas A&M University