Nathan H. Dize deposited La Mulâtresse During the Two World Wars: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Suzanne Lacascade’s Claire-Solange, âme-africaine and Mayotte Capécia’s Je suis Martiniquaise in the group Race and Aesthetics in French and Francophone Culture on MLA Commons 3 years, 11 months ago
When we think of the literature produced before, during, and after the two World Wars we rarely think of the Caribbean as a site of significant literary output. Typically, we privilege a white, male, European literary voice. If we do consider literature from elsewhere, it usually follows a pattern of normative privilege. Therefore, it is useful to consider the female Caribbean voice and its response to colonialism, racism, and gender violence during the period between 1914 and 1945. Claire-Solange, âme-africaine offers arguably one of the best examples of a female Caribbean perspective on World War I as well as global politics. Although Suzanne Lacascade’s novel has been obscured and lost over time, the Martinican author portrays everyday scenarios in France during World War I to empower marginalized Caribbean women during one of the most tumultuous moments in the early 20th Century. While Lacascade shifts our lens to the First World War, Mayotte Capécia’s Je suis Martiniquaise is set, in part, during the blockade years in Martinique during World War II under Admiral Georges Robert. Together, these two Martinican female writers – even though they are less well known than their canonical male compatriots Aimé Césaire, Édouard Glissant, and Patrick Chamoiseau – lucidly portray the everyday lives of mulatto women in Martinique and in France as they negotiate their place on the periphery of French society. I argue below that through their interrogations of the everyday during these two wars that Lacascade and Capécia generate female protagonists who challenge racial, cultural, gender, and sexual stereotypes, which have historically rendered mixed race women as marginalized figures in Francophone Caribbean literature.