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Signs of Origin: Victor Hugo's Bug-Jargal

Signs of Origin: Victor Hugo's Bug-Jargal Abstract: Victor Hugo's controversial Bug-Jargal (published 1820, revised 1826) is often read as either négrophile or négrophobe , monarchist or pro-revolution: an ongoing critical debate that stems in part from the novel's own fundamental contradictions. The revised Bug-Jargal endeavors to confront the Revolution (both in Haiti and in mainland France) without glossing over its complexities, introducing the formal æsthetic opposition of the sublime and grotesque in an ambitious effort to bring the chaos of revolutionary Terror within the higher order of Romantic art. However, grotesque elements within Bug-Jargal threaten to subvert other antithetical pairs which the novel nonetheless depends upon: black and white, rightful leadership and rebellion, "proper" and "improper" use of colonial discourses of authority. Multiple speakers within the novel conspire to reconfirm the existence of "original" categories of identity that the "cannibal" threat of the grotesque radically calls into question. (KMB) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nineteenth Century French Studies University of Nebraska Press

Signs of Origin: Victor Hugo's Bug-Jargal

Nineteenth Century French Studies , Volume 36 (2) – Apr 25, 2008

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Nebraska Press
ISSN
1536-0172
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Victor Hugo's controversial Bug-Jargal (published 1820, revised 1826) is often read as either négrophile or négrophobe , monarchist or pro-revolution: an ongoing critical debate that stems in part from the novel's own fundamental contradictions. The revised Bug-Jargal endeavors to confront the Revolution (both in Haiti and in mainland France) without glossing over its complexities, introducing the formal æsthetic opposition of the sublime and grotesque in an ambitious effort to bring the chaos of revolutionary Terror within the higher order of Romantic art. However, grotesque elements within Bug-Jargal threaten to subvert other antithetical pairs which the novel nonetheless depends upon: black and white, rightful leadership and rebellion, "proper" and "improper" use of colonial discourses of authority. Multiple speakers within the novel conspire to reconfirm the existence of "original" categories of identity that the "cannibal" threat of the grotesque radically calls into question. (KMB)

Journal

Nineteenth Century French StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Apr 25, 2008

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