Les Vagabondes. ISBN: 0-9754244-0-8. Paperback.
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Les Vagabondes. Camille
Thierry. Bilingual critical edition by Frans C. Amelinckx and May
Rush Gwin Waggoner.
Although their achievements have been largely overlooked, numerous
black francophone writers flourished in nineteenth-century New Orleans.
To date, their works, published almost entirely in the ephemeral
newspapers and journals of the day, have been difficult to find
and nearly impossible to study. Now, after fifteen years of meticulous
study and monumental patience, Frans Amelinckx has created a framework
that enables modern readers to understand these works. Indeed, their
authors are worthy of our attention not only because of their historical
importance, but because they explored regions perhaps best designated
as “negative space” — the ambiguous zone between
black and white, inhabited by Louisiana’s excluded “third
caste” who were not slaves but who were considered less than
whole by white Creoles. This bilingual critical edition by Frans
Amelinckx and May Waggoner restores Thierry’s poetry to its
rightful place as one of our nation’s most unusual and unexpected
literary accomplishments as it carefully explores the complexity
of racial interaction in nineteenth-century Louisiana. Waggoner’s
sensitive and elegant translation of Thierry’s poetry makes
this edition especially valuable to English speaking scholars of
American and African American studies.