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Johnelle. Alfred Mercier. Text edited by Christine Elizabeth Downes.

ISBN: 978-0-9793230-6-5.
$15.50

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Johnelle. Alfred Mercier. Text edited by Christine Elizabeth Downes.

    Among Alfred Mercier’s novels, Johnelle stands apart. Released in 1891, three years before the author’s death, this novel was the final book by the great Creole writer. Should the modern reader consider this to be a work of old age or a profound and sharp meditation on the self-destruction of New Orleans' Creole culture? In this pointed text, Mercier unleashes all of his bitterness, all of his pessimism, attacking without pity Creole mothers who would abort their children in order to protect their waistlines, their money, and their free time, so that they could more easily assimilate into American culture. And yet, for Mercier, the tragedy was not just that these women exterminated the fruit of their own bodies, but that Creole society itself renounced its entire French heritage as it aborted its very future.
    Johnelle
represents more than a bold text in which Mercier dares to approach a forbidden subject – infanticide; it’s a desperate and hopeless meditation on the last days of the Louisiana Creole into which Mercier pours all of the pathos and poetry of a culture on the verge of disappearing.