Haiti -- History -- Revolution, -- Fiction. Carpentier, Alejo, Add tags for "The kingdom of this world". Get this from a library! The kingdom of this world. [Alejo Carpentier]. Alejo Carpentier's foundational Latin American text, The Kingdom of This World, is of critical. "Prologue" to The Kingdom of This World. --Alejo Carpentier, ♢. (The Prologue is a key statement about 'marvelous realism' and the place of Haiti in the.
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Each part narrates a different episode in the history of the Haitian revolution and its aftermath: first, an initial conspiracy of slaves against their masters in plantations, through a poison campaign; then, the revolt of Bouckman and its repression by Napoleonic forces; in part three, we see King Henri Christophe, Haiti's first black ruler, enslaving his people to build him a palace; finally, the last part shows the slavery and repression accompanying the rise to power of the gens de couleur.
Those narrative threads are linked through the recollections of a slave, Ti Noel, who finds himself embroiled in the Haitians' historical quest for freedom, first as a white colonist's slave, then as a free man forced into the feudal economy. The novel is also bound together by the motif of disease, intervening at key moments of the narrative. The first such moment is in the fifth chapter of Part One, De Profundis, which narrates the poison campaign led by the slaves against their white masters, and sets the action of the novel in motion, as it is here that the resistance movement among the slaves begins.
Both a historical and novelistic turning point, the campaign led by a storytelling, shape-shifting slave named Macandal is told as an epic, from the point of view of his fellow slaves. The materiality of the poison is at the heart of the description of the campaign.
However, this materiality seems to slip away at times: the poison is undetectable. Even though in theory it is within the domain of medicine, the latter is so powerless to counter it, they ultimately belong to two different realms; poison eludes even definition. But the poison went on decimating families In the face of this invasion of the poison, the masters are not only powerless, but utterly bewildered.
They cannot defeat this enemy, because they cannot comprehend it.
Even when the colonists do finally extract an explanation from a slave, it does not explain how the poison works, or how to recover from it. This gives the slaves lingering power over the masters, despite their brutal repression. The masters capture Macandal and put him to death, but in the eyes of Ti Noel and his fellow slaves, he changes into a bird and evades his execution.
The poison is stopped, but it could come back anytime, and therefore the threat is never fully lifted. This sense of bewilderment and helplessness is paralleled in three later instances of disease striking the powerful. She recognizes, therefore, that medicine and science cannot heal what is essentially a divine curse.
However, her syncretic Christian-Afro- Caribbean rites are no defense against the disease either; Leclerc dies, cementing that feeling of fatal powerlessness. Soliman shrinks away from medicine, and invokes Papa Legba, a local deity, asking him to let him pass into the other world.
Once again, a dichotomy is drawn between the Afro-Caribbean faith and forces of science and logic. These novels are historical fiction that take the events of history as their base, and then elaborate on them to weave stories that are neither accurate descriptions of historical events, nor fully fictional, but a mix of the two.
The Kingdom of This World is one of the novels you will read. The purpose of getting you to read this novel was not primarily for the storyline and plot - though there are a number of historical events and people that are discussed and they are important for this course - but because of the way that the book analyses a number of historical themes that are important for this class. These include the importance of Vodou beliefs to the Haitian Revolution, and the issue of whether or not life was any better for the freedmen and women after the Revolution, when slavery was abolished, and when Haiti gained its independence from France.
Thus the hope is that this website will help give you a better understanding of the themes in the book by allowing you quick and easy access to a source of information that explains some of the people, events, and places that are described in the novel, thus allowing you to gain a fuller understanding of the novel and its themes. When I first began putting together this website back in , there was only one edition of the novel available, the edition, with an orange cover, as seen below:.
In the publishers, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, issued a new edition of the book, with an introduction by the female Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat.
This new edition had a black cover, as seen below:.
The new 'black' edition of the book retained the same font and style as the earlier 'orange' edition, but while the 'orange' edition began the text on page 7, the 'black' edition began the text of the novel, after Danticat's six page introduction, on page 1. This meant that when I first began the website I used the pagination of the only edition available, that of the orange text. As the years have passed, more copies of the newer 'black' text have become available and the older 'orange' text became more scarce.
This presented a problem for the website, as the pagination of the editions was different, and the whole point of the website was to offer a quick and simple source of information for the novel.