The Kingdom of This World. by Alejo Carpentier. THE LITERARY WORK. A novel set in Haiti and Cuba from the s to the early s; published in Spanish. Carpentier, Alejo, Kingdom of this world. New York, Knopf, ( DLC) (OCoLC) Material Type: Document, Fiction, Internet. The Paperback of the The Kingdom of This World: A Novel by Alejo Carpentier at Barnes & Noble. Buy Online, Pick up in Store . Publication date: 11/07/
The Kingdom of this World
Other authors[ edit ] Carpentier was influenced by a number of authors. This is contrasted with the lack of magic and imagination in European folklore. Furthermore, his trip to Haiti in is recounted, as well as some of the research he did to gather facts for the novel. Carpentier also denounces the commonplace and formulaic instances of the marvellous that is found in surrealist novels due to its inorganic and false origins, as opposed to the natural magic that is found in Latin America.
Macandal would tell tales of magical characters and mythical kingdoms with rivers rising in the sky. He is said to not only have irresistible qualities that appeal to black women, but also the ability to captivate men.
He suffers an accident in which his left hand is caught in machinery, and his arm is dragged in up to the shoulder. Being useless to his owner, he departs for the mountains and discovers many secret herbs, plants, and fungi that appear to have magical qualities. Ti Noel joins Macandal and both learn about the magical attributes of these natural elements. Macandal suggests that the time has come, and no longer goes to the plantation. After the rain season has passed, Ti Noel meets with him in a cave populated with strange items.
Macandal has established contact with surrounding plantations, and gives instructions to ensure the death of cows using secret herbs. The poison spreads, killing livestock by the hundreds as well as Frenchmen, wiping out adults and children.
Madame Lenormand de Mezy dies as a result, and the deaths continue with entire families suffering the same fate. At gunpoint, a slave eventually explains that Macandal has superhuman powers and is the Lord of Poison.
Death within the plantations returns to normal rates as a result and the Frenchmen return to playing cards and drinking, as months pass with no word of Macandal. Macandal, now with the ability to transform into animal forms, like bird, fish, or insect, visits the plantation to affirm faith in his return. The slaves decide to wait four years for Macandal to complete his metamorphoses and once again become a human. After four years, he returns during a celebration and all present are delighted.
The chanting alerts the white men, and preparations are made to capture Macandal. He is captured and tied to a post in order to be lashed and burned in front of massive black crowds, but he escapes, flying overhead, and lands among the crowd.
He is again captured and burned, but the slaves are certain that he has been saved by African Gods and return to their plantations, laughing. Part two[ edit ] Lenormand de Mezy's second wife has died and the city has made remarkable progress. Henri Christophe is a master chef.
Twenty years have gone by and Ti Noel has fathered twelve children by one of the cooks. He has told these children many stories of Macandal and they await his return. A secret gathering of trusted slaves takes place: Bouckman, the Jamaican, speaks of possible freedom for the blacks emerging in France and also mentions the opposition from the plantation landowners.
An uprising is planned; as a result of this meeting, conch-shell trumpets sound and slaves, armed with sticks, surround the houses of their masters. Upon hearing the conch-shells Lenormand de Mezy is frightened and manages to hide. The slaves kill the white men and drink much alcohol. The uprising is defeated and Bouckman is killed. The governor, Blanchelande, advocates for the complete extermination of the colony's black population, as they pose a threat with their voodoo and secret religion.
Several of the rebels are gathered to be publicly executed, but Lenormand de Mezy secures the release of his slaves, including Ti Noel, intending to sell them in the slave markets in Cuba. Lenormand de Mezy takes Ti Noel and other slaves to Cuba, where he becomes lazy, conducts no business, enjoys the women, drinks alcohol, and gambles away his slaves. Pauline Bonaparte accompanies Leclerc, her army general husband, to Haiti.
On the way there, she enjoys sexually tempting the men on the ship. Leclerc dies, and Pauline returns to Paris while the Rochambeau government treats the blacks very poorly.
However, there is the emergence of black priests who allow the slaves to conduct more business internally. Part three[ edit ] Ti Noel has been won in a card game by a plantation owner based in Santiago, and Lenormand de Mezy dies in abject poverty shortly afterwards. Ti Noel saves enough money to buy his passage, and as a free man, he discovers a free Haiti. Now much older, he realizes that he has returned to the former plantation of Lenormand de Mezy.
Haiti has undergone great development, and the land has come under the control of the black man. Ti Noel is abruptly thrown into prison and once again made to work as a slave among children, pregnant girls, women, and old men.
Henri Christopheformerly a cook and now king due to the black uprising, is using slaves to construct lavish statues, figures, and a magnificent fortress. Ti Noel considers slavery under a fellow black man worse than that endured at the hands of Lenormand de Mezy.
In times past, the loss of a slave would be a financial loss, but as long as there are black women to continue supplying slaves, their deaths are insignificant. Ti Noel escapes and returns to the former plantation of Lenormand de Mezy, where he remains for some time, and later returns to the city to find it gripped by fear of Henri Christophe's regime. Inwhen the indigenous Carib and Arawak peoples were nearly decimated by disease, exhaustion from their slave labor in the mills, and malnutrition, Spain began to grant asientos agreements to enslave and import Africans to the Caribbean.
By France had settled the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and most of the Caribbean had fallen under the control of the British, Dutch, French, or Spanish. The latter part of the sevnteenth century saw many conflicts and wars between the European powers. All persons of black heritage born free or emancipated. They constituted a large and vocal minority in Saint-Domingue, with diverse and changeable political affiliations. All those born to a white parent and a non-white parent.
The colonial authorities in Saint-Domingue had different designations for the racial composition of those deemed non-white. Those who were never enslaved or who escaped slavery and survived in the mountainous or deserted areas of the island. In they numbered around 3, Grands Blancs Big Whites: Owners of large plantations and high functionaries in Saint-Domingue; many were from the French nobility, and a large number of them did not live in Saint-Domingue.
They were most frequently pro-monarchy, pro-slavery, and pro-political rights for the free persons of color. Petits Blancs Small Whites: The plantation overseers, merchants, and lower functionaries.
Mostly middle-to lower-class French or Creole of French heritage, but born in Latin Americathe petit blancs often competed with mulattoes and other free persons for jobs and resources. They were most frequently pro-republican, pro-slavery, and opposed to equality for the free persons of color.
The kingdom of this world
Legislative bodies of the French government. The overarching Assembly within Saint-Domingue. When they drafted a Constitution that broke with the French National Assembly, the regional and social factions within the Colonial Assembly began to pull apart.
At this time, the western section of the island was called Saint-Domingue, and the eastern, Santo Domingo. Saint-Domingue was a very valuable possession. Byseveral decades after the novel opens, it had become the wealthiest colony in the Caribbean. During the latter part of the eighteenth century, the French Caribbean surpassed all other exporters of sugar, including the British, exporting , pounds in alone Knight, p.
It was also a strategic naval base. Marc and south to Port-au-Prince. The southern region was the least populous and most rugged of the three regions. It was home to many free persons of color and to a sizable mixed-race population. By the total population of the colony was , of which86 percent of the total were slaves the majority of whom were black, with a small minority of mulattos28, were non-white free persons, and 40, were white Knight, p.
The colony of Saint-Domingue was administered by a bureaucracy and a military whose heads answered directly to the French king. There were Provincial Assemblies, but they had to answer to the legislative bodies in France, to which the colonies sent their own deputies.
The late seventeenth century marked the systematization of slavery under the Code Noir, or Black Code. Passed by the French King Louis XIV init established the legal conditions for the treatment of slaves, who were defined under the Code and in other legal documents concerning slavery as property.
This permission was revoked inafter which slaveowners would be charged a heavy fine for emancipations.
The Kingdom of This World - Wikipedia
During the latter half of the eighteenth century, many of the planters openly defied the Code Noir, starving the slaves and devising brutal devices to torture them, including structures specifically designed for the torture of pregnant women or small children. The most rapidly growing group in Saint-Domingue was that of the free persons of color, who ranged from wealthy plantation owners and merchants to newly freed slaves and subsistence farmers.
Along with their status came considerable obstacles, even for the wealthiest free persons of color. Their liberty was often tenuous, and they were much more legally and socially restricted than the poor whites, often their closest competitors for jobs and political power. Free persons of color could inherit property, serve in the colonial militia and the police forces, and marry whites in the earlier part of the eighteenth century.
These rights were denied them later in the century, when the community grew in wealth and size and was viewed by the white colonists as a potential economic and political threat.
The Kingdom of This World
In mulattoes were legally prohibited from wearing European clothes or armor, gaining or using titles, and meeting together, even for weddings or dances. Murmurs of discontent The Kingdom of This World opens in the s.
The period from tofor example, was marked by large-scale poisoning scares linked in part to the slave rebel leader Macandal. Historians are divided about how much these scares reflected actual conditions and how much they were a product of white paranoia. With the public execution of Macandal inmany of the rebels were isolated and the antislavery resistance seemed mortally weakened.
Nevertheless, with the stirrings of revolution in the United Statesand the dispatch of a mulatto regiment to the American revolutionary war, the colonials continued to fear the possibility of a slave revolution.
France itself had a similar fear—that the colonials would themselves make a bid for independence from France. The French Revolutionwhich began intriggered the creation of competing revolutionary and counterrevolutionary militias and governing bodies throughout Saint-Domingue.
The questions of citizenship and nationality that emerged from this declaration provoked two basic questions for the colonies: First, were the slaves to be defined as human beings or as property? Second, what was the legal status of mulattoes? The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen led to debates over enfranchising mulattoes whose parents were both free, a proposal voted into law on May 15, More than 1, plantations were burned in just over one month, and, before the colonial militia was able to contain the revolt, hundreds of whites and thousands of slaves had been killed.
Toussaint was from the North, where he quickly rose to lead the rebel forces there. The first, against the rebel slaves, aimed to bolster the system of slavery, which was the economic mainstay of the bourgeoisie who supported the French Revolution. The whites and mulattoes were initially united, but, as the news that the French revolutionaries had executed King Louis January 21, reached Saint-Domingue, the whites split into royalist and revolutionary factions, with most of the mulattoes siding with Sonthanax, for the moment.
Over the dissent of the royalist faction, largely composed of the petits blancs, Sonthanax enforced the May Decree. Sonthanax thus faced a dual challenge, the force of the counter-revolutionaries and the force of the Spanish-backed slaves. Surrounded in Le Cap, Sonthanax decreed the abolition of slavery on August 29, Meanwhile, the rebel slaves of Saint-Dominigue used the continuing wars between the European powers that had Caribbean colonies France, Spain, and England to strategic effect, managing to gain the equipment, training, and opportunity to challenge the counter-revolutionary forces.
In the spring ofafter winning many victories for the Spaniards, Toussaint left the Spaniards and joined ranks with the French. Thus the hope is that this website will help give you a better understanding of the themes in the book by allowing you quick and easy access to a source of information that explains some of the people, events, and places that are described in the novel, thus allowing you to gain a fuller understanding of the novel and its themes. In the publishers, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, issued a new edition of the book, with an introduction by the female Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat.
This new edition had a black cover, as seen below: The new 'black' edition of the book retained the same font and style as the earlier 'orange' edition, but while the 'orange' edition began the text on page 7, the 'black' edition began the text of the novel, after Danticat's six page introduction, on page 1.
This meant that when I first began the website I used the pagination of the only edition available, that of the orange text. As the years have passed, more copies of the newer 'black' text have become available and the older 'orange' text became more scarce.
This presented a problem for the website, as the pagination of the editions was different, and the whole point of the website was to offer a quick and simple source of information for the novel.