New Books: Romulus (A Novella from 19th Century Haiti)


Romulus: A Novella from 19th Century Haiti

Authored by Fernand Hibbert
Translated by Matthew Robertshaw

This is the first and only English translation of celebrated Haitian author Fernand Hibbert’s novella Romulus. The story takes place in the prosperous and lively seaside town of Miragoâne on Haiti’s southern peninsula, where a group of exiles disembark to launch a civil war. The town’s residents are forced to take sides as their home is transformed into a battleground. Romulus Joseph, a simple police commissioner, finds himself taking part in the uprising, never fully grasping the philosophy of the rebellion. First published in French and Kreyòl in 1908, Fernand Hibbert’s novella Romulus is an exciting look at a vibrant community as its members live through the thrill and disappointment of one of many disastrous events in Haiti’s rocky history. Hibbert tells this dramatic and satirical tale with as much wit as heart. His themes, both political and emotional, hold true a century after publication.

About the author:
Fernand Hibbert is considered a pioneer of the Haitian novel. His works, full of satire and wit, sought to criticize the corrupt powers of the day while painting an accurate, often beautiful portrait of Haitian society at the start of the twentieth century. Born in Miragoâne in 1873, Hibbert studied in Paris before teaching history and French literature at Lycée Pétion. He had a successful diplomatic career as Minister of Foreign Relations and later Minister Plenipotentiary to Cuba, and was later Secretary of State for Public Education. He contributed to newspapers and literary reviews, wrote several novels, plays and short stories, helping to establish a uniquely Haitian literary culture.

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