Nicholas Rinehart deposited “I Talk More of The French”: Creole Folklore and the Federal Writers’ Project in the group LLC Literatures of the United States in Languages Other Than English on MLA Commons 3 years ago
This essay tackles a question that has preoccupied Francophone postcolonial studies for several decades—namely, what is believed almost unanimously to be the absence of a Francophone equivalent to the slave narrative in English. My article challenges this assumption by reconciling the legacies of slavery in both the Anglophone and Francophone “arenas” to examine their overlap in the French Creole culture of Louisiana. It focuses on the “other” slave narratives—the ex-slave interviews collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s, specifically those from Louisiana, as well as Texas and Arkansas, that were translated from French or Creole, include French or Creole words or passages, or recount the history of French slavery in the United States. These previously unacknowledged texts reveal how the histories of American and French colonial slaveries converged to produce an “unwritten” Francophone slave narrative tradition.