The anonymous 1811 Idylles et chansons, ou essais de poésie créole has been received as a minor work of Creole poetry by a single author. This essay demonstrates that it is actually the first known Creole literary anthology, containing variations on works including the earliest published Creole poem, "Lisette quitté la plaine," from mid-eighteenth century Saint-Domingue (Haiti). Since the anthology attests to the circulation and transformation of early Creole texts, it puts their presumed béké (white Caribbean-born) authorial origins into question. I interpret tensions in racial and linguistic hierarchies in "Lisette" in relation to two conceptualizations of slavery and literary voice: postcolonial theories of colonial mimesis, and historical commentaries on the poetic productivity of non-white members of colonial society.


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pp. 83-106
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