Creole oral literature
DOI link for Creole oral literature
Creole oral literature book
Early documents, which I have often invoked when discussing cultural systems in the preceding chapters, give virtually no information on creole oral literature. For example, Billiard (1822:210) hardly even mentions that an oral literature existed among Blacks on Réunion: ‘The head of the household tells marvelous tales, the attentive family listens …’ All the same, on Mauritius, apart from creole texts of a religious or administrative nature (such as the Catechism of 1828 or the proclamation abolishing slavery in 1835), one of the oldest prose texts in Creole is Zistoire moucié Caraba, a ‘Mauritian’ version of ‘Puss in Boots,’ which is the work of Father Aristide de la Butte. Its unpublished manuscript was passed on to me around 1970 by H. Adolphe, then Director of the National Archives of Mauritius, who estimated its date to be 1850 at the latest (Chaudenson 1981a:121). It seems certain that this is not an original story, but rather a creole translation of a French tale (confirmed by the handwritten legend, ‘patois translation,’ on the envelope containing the document). Slightly later, in 1880, Charles Baissac published a creole version of the same story. The problem that faces us here is the reliability of the data we are considering – though the risk is less than that of, say, attempting a comparative study of creole cuisines based solely on books on this subject that have so proliferated in recent years.