Emeric Bergeaud (1818–1858) was a Haitian novelist. His best-known work, Stella, was the first Haitian novel. Born in Cayes, he served as Secretary to Jerome Maximilien Borgella and later participated in a revolt against President Soulouque. Exiled to Saint Thomas, it was there that he wrote the novel Stella.

Written while the author was exiled to St. Thomas, due to his alleged participation in an attempt to assassinate the black emperor Faustin I (Soulouque), the work can be read as the first foundational novel of Haiti. It is a mythical retelling of the establishment of the Haitian nation. This narrative presents not only the birth, through revolution, of Haiti as an independent nation but also the strife between political factions in Bergeaud’s contemporary Haiti, including that between blacks and mulattoes in the struggle to control Haiti. Stella vividly introduces readers to the tale of revolt and revolution that eventually led to the creation of a free black nation.

Marlene Daut has recently revealed in Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865, that three Haitian journalists and writers from the early twentieth-century, Ulrick Duvivier, Frederic Marcelin, and Louis Morpeau, suspected or more likely erroneously believed that Stella was actually authored by Bergeaud’s wife. At the present time, there is no other known evidence that supports the claims of Duuvivier, Marcelin, and Morpeau.

 

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