An understanding of tragedy has proved critical to scholars working on Haitian history or its representation in Caribbean literature. This scholarship, however, has typically centered on the tragic figures of the Haitian Revolution (Toussaint Louverture), or on the early post-independence period (Henri Christophe). This paper focuses instead on Haitian literary representations of Hispaniola's indigenous period (1492–1530s), since these texts have been understood as tragic quasi-allegories of the Haitian Revolution. In this paper, I analyze the play La fille du Kacik [The Daughter of the Taino Chief] (1894) in light of recent work on tragedy by David Scott and others. Specifically, I argue that the play disrupts tragic expectations for this period throughout, most notably by reading the central Taino chief, Kaonabo, as the allegorical double of Dessalines. This reframing of Haiti's indigenous past as an anticolonial success, I contend, speaks specifically to the limits of Haitian anticolonial discourse after independence.


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pp. 165-181
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