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The Tragedy of King Christophe
by Aime Cesaire
Northwestern University Press, 2015
Paper: 978-0-8101-3058-6
Library of Congress Classification PQ3949.C44T713 2015
Dewey Decimal Classification 842.914

The Tragedy of King Christophe (1963, revised 1970) is recognized as the Martiniquan writer and activist Aime Cesaire’s greatest play. Set in the period of upheaval in Haiti after the assassination of Jean-Jacques Dessalines in 1806, it follows the historical figure of Henri Christophe, a slave who rose to become a general in Toussaint Louverture’s army. Christophe declared himself king in 1811 and ruled the northern part of Haiti until 1820. Cesaire employs Shakespearean plotting and revels in the inexhaustible possibilities of language to convey the tragedy of Christophe’s transformation from a charismatic leader sensitive to the oppression of his people to an oppressor himself. Paul Breslin and Rachel Ney’s nimble, accurate translation includes an introduction and explanatory notes to guide students, scholars, and general readers alike.

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