Jacques-Stephen Alexis Haitian Novelist

Jacques-Stephen Alexis was born in 1922 with literary blood already in his veins courtesy of his writer father, Stephen Alexis. His upbringing in Haiti and the influence of other prolific Haitian writers, like Jacques Roumain before him, molded Alexis into one of the country's most well loved writers.


Though he'd completed his schooling in medicine, writing had remained a passion and he gained early recognition on his first piece, an essay on the poet, Hamilton Garoute. This early success was soon followed by his work with La Ruche and then by a string of novels which tended towards the heavy narrative telling of the Haitian city-dwelling peasant.

His works included a highly popular essay, to the first Congress of Black Writer's, about Haiti's réalisme merveilleux, and novels 'Compère Général Soleil', written in 1955, 'Les Arbres musiciens' two years later and 'L'Espace d'un cillement' two years after that. Whatever tale he weaved, he never strove far from his realistic depictions, lyrical and emotive, of the nature of life in Haiti and the struggles of the poor. It was a style he would become known for.

His influences were not only literary. The Marxist views of his early influence Roumain, and the Surrealism of Breton and Carpentier also shaped his views on the world in Haiti and colored the characters in his novels and influenced their world as well. Descended from Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Alexis' inborn political persuasions led him to openly challenge the Duvalier administration. He formed his own party in 1959, the People's Consensus Party, and was exiled by Duvalier shortly after. When he tried to return to the country in secret, he was captured, tortured and later killed by Duvalier's men.

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Jims says...

as i was saying it is quite

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