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Book cover
Theater of the French Caribbean
Traditions and Contemporary Stages
Stephanie Berard, Ph.D.
Book excerpt:
"The importing of European culture, particularly of Western theater, to the French Caribbean did not end with the abolition of slavery in 1848, or with departmentalization
in 1946. However, in the 20th century a new phenomenon appeared: in addition to French plays (vaudeville and comedy) performed by French companies, a number of European dramatic works were adapted by Caribbean playwrights. These dramatists did not hesitate to draw from the Western theatrical tradition, which they appropriated,
absorbed, assimilated and transformed by translation and adaptation. The transposition of European literary text
into the Caribbean linguistic and cultural context was not mere imitation of a supposed model but, on the contrary,
manifested a spirit of invention and even contestation of authors who dissociated themselves from the tradition that nurtured them, which they then sought to reevaluate....A movement of
contestation and revolt lurks behind respect for the European literary tradition that translation and adaptation seemingly
impart, a bid for freedom from a dominant power and an affirmation of Caribbean culture and identity.

From ancient Greek theater to contemporary authors, from Sophocles to Beckett via Shakespeare and Molire, the
great names of Western theater march across contemporary Caribbean stages and are reevaluated in the light of another
language and culture, the language and culture of the Creole world, which though seemingly subservient affirms its right
to exist and freedom to create."
November 2013, Caribbean Studies Press, 332pp, black and white illustrations, softcover
ISBN 978-1-62632-176-2
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