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Create dangerously : the immigrant artist at work
Edwidge Danticat   (More from this author)
Memoir/ Essay
 
Create dangerously : the immigrant artist at work - Haitian Book Centre - Haitian Books in Creole, English and French, francophone litterature - Cliquer pour agrandir Description:
In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus' lecture, « Create Dangerously », and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Danticat eulogizes an aunt who guarded her family's homestead in the Haitian countryside, a cousin who died of AIDS while living in Miami as an undocumented alien, and a renowned Haitian radio journalist whose political assassination shocked the world. Danticat writes about the Haitian novelists she first read as a girl at the Brooklyn Public Library, a woman mutilated in a machete attack who became a public witness against torture, and the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artists of Haitian descent. Danticat also suggests that the aftermaths of natural disasters in Haiti and the United States reveal that the countries are not as different as many Americans might like to believe.

Table of Contents:
CHAPTER 1: Create Dangerously: Th e Immigrant Artist at Work 1
CHAPTER 2: Walk Straight 21
CHAPTER 3: I Am Not a Journalist 41
CHAPTER 4: Daughters of Memory 59
CHAPTER 5: I Speak Out 73
CHAPTER 6: The Other Side of the Water 87
CHAPTER 7: Bicentennial 97
CHAPTER 8: Another Country 107
CHAPTER 9: Flying Home 115
CHAPTER 10: Welcoming Ghosts 127
CHAPTER 11: Acheiropoietos 137
CHAPTER 12: Our Guernica 153
Acknowledgments 175
Notes 177
Index 183

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EXCERPT When it was a crime to pick up a bloodied body on the street, Haitian writers introduced Haitian readers to Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and Antigone, which had been rewritten in Creole and placed in Haitian settings by the playwright Franck Fouché and the poet Félix Morisseau Leroy. This is where these writers placed their bets, striking a dangerous balance between silence and art.

How do writers and readers find each other under such dangerous circumstances ? Reading, like writing, under these conditions is disobedience to a directive in which the reader, our Eve, already knows the possible consequences of eating that apple but takes a bold bite anyway.

How does that reader find the courage to take this bite, open that book ? After an arrest, an execution ? Of course he or she may find it in the power of the hushed chorus of other readers, but she can also find it in the writer's courage in having stepped forward, in having written, or rewritten, in the first place.

Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them. Coming from where I come from, with the history I have — having spent the first twelve years of my life under both dictatorships of Papa Doc and his son, Jean-Claude — this is what I've always seen as the unifying principle among all writers. This is what, among other things, might join Albert Camus and Sophocles to Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Osip Mandelstam, and Ralph Waldo Emerson to Ralph Waldo Ellison. Somewhere, if not now, then maybe years in the future, a future that we may have yet to dream of, someone may risk his or her life to read us. Somewhere, if not now, then maybe years in the future, we may also save someone's life, because they have given us a passport, making us honorary citizens of their culture.

(…)

There are many possible interpretations of what it means to create dangerously, and Albert Camus, like the poet Osip Mandelstam, suggests that it is creating as a revolt against silence, creating when both the creation and the reception, the writinng and the reading, are dangerous undertakings, disobedience to a directive.

pp. 9-11

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189 Pages
English
 
 
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Princeton 2010
ISBN: 9780691140186
 
Price: $ 19.95
In stock
 
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