Friends and Enemies

BookFriends and Enemies

Friends and Enemies

The Scribal Politics of Post/Colonial Literature

Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines, 3


October 1st, 2008





In this timely contribution to debates about the future of postcolonial theory groundbreaking scholar Chris Bongie explores the troubled relationship between postcolonial theory and ‘politics’, both in the sense of a radical, revolutionary politics associated with anti-colonial struggle, and the almost inevitable implication of literary writers in institutional discourses of power. The book builds directly on Bongie’s Islands and Exiles (Stanford UP, 1998), which was described by the eminent Caribbeanist Peter Hulme as a book that “may well be the greatest single contribution yet to expanding the field of postcolonial studies.” Bongie explores the commemoration and commodification of the post/colonial using early nineteenth-century Caribbean texts alongside contemporary works. Taking Haiti as a key example he writes lucidly of the processes by which Haiti’s world-historical revolution has been commemorated both in the colonial era and in our own postcolonial age—an age in which it is increasingly difficult to separate the reality of memories of anti-colonial resistance from the processes of commodification through which alone those memories can now be thought. Never less than stimulating and frequently controversial, Friends and Enemies is likely to provoke new debates among scholars of postcolonial theory, Caribbean studies, francophone literature and culture, and nineteenth century French studies.

Chris Bongie’s openly polemical volume is by turns profound in its insights, meticulous in its archival research, startlingly original in the boldness of its theorizing, and extraordinary in the breadth of its references.

Modern Language Review, 105.1

This study is both meticulous in its readings and ambitious in its intellectual reach.
Alison Donnell

Scholars in Caribbean and postcolonial studies have eagerly awaited the next volume from Chris Bongie and with Friends and Enemies they will not be disappointed…Challenging and often provocative, this book will be essential reading for all serious scholars in the postcolonial field.

University of Liverpool

Friends and Enemies is well worth diving into for shrewd readings of a splendidly varied corpus and an insightful, comprehensive elucidation of contemporary postcolonial perspectives.

French Studies, Vol. 64 No. 10

his valuable contribution, for those unaware of his scholarship, has opened a Pandora's box that will generate stimulating conversations among scholars. Perhaps these discussions will allow new voices to be heard.

New West Indian Guide, Vol. 85, No. 1 & 2

Chris Bongie’s openly polemical volume is by turns profound in its insights, meticulous in its archival research, startlingly original in the boldness of its theorizing, and extraordinary in the breadth of its references.
Michael Syrontinski, Modern Language Review, 105.1

Author Information

Chris Bongie is Professor and Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University, Canada. Previous publications include Friends and Enemies: The Scribal Politics of Post/Colonial Literature (LUP, 2008), Islands and Exiles: The Creole Identities of Post/Colonial Literature (Stanford UP, 1998) and Exotic Memories: Literature, Colonialism, and the Fin de siècle (Stanford UP, 1991).

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Preface and Acknowledgements: Entrances
Introduction: Literature, Politics and Memory
Part One- Humanitarian Interventions: The Haitian Revolution in Translation, 1793-1833
Incursion I
France and Haiti, 1804-2004: Postimperial Melancholy, 'New Humanist' Elation
1. 'The Friend of Equality': Terror and Forgetting in the Novels of Jean-Baptiste Picquenard
2. ' The Cause of Humanity': Victor Hugo's 'Bug-Jargal' and the Limits of Liberal Translation
Part Two - Between Memory and Nostalgia#; Commemorating Post/Colonialism, 1998-2004
Incursion II
3. 'Chroniques de la francophonie triomphante': The Dutiful Memories of Regis Debray
4. A Street Named Bissette: Assimilating the 'Cent-cinquantenaire' of the Abolition of Slavery in Martinique (1848-1998)
5. 'Monotonies of History': Baron de Vastey and the Mulatto Legend of Derek Walcott's Haitian Trilogy
Part Three - Exiles on Main Stream: Browsing the Franco-Caribbean Canon
Incursion III
Futures Past? David Scott's Black Jacobins and the Dead End Of Cultural Politics
6. Withering Heights: Marayse Conde and the Postcolonial Middlebrow
7. Spectres of Glissant: Dealing in Relation