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Les Quarteronnes de La Nouvelle-Orléans : Dahlia, Sidonie de La Houssaye. Notes de Christian Hommel.

ISBN: 978-098573455-8. $18.00

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Les Quarteronnes de La Nouvelle-Orléans : Dahlia, Sidonie de La Houssaye. Notes de Christian Hommel.

     Among all the Quadroons there are none who are the equal of the incomparable Dahlia. This was the last novel written by Sidonie de La Houssaye. Published after her death it seemed to foretell the dark days that were in store for Louisiana's French language literature. After Dahlia our literature remained silent for nearly three-quarters of a century. Nonetheless, this novel contains pages of remarkable beauty that de La Houssaye inscribed with everything she had learned about form and narrative structure during her long career as a writer. Profoundly influenced by Zola, but also by American writers such as Lydia Maria Child, Dion Boucicault, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and George Washington Cable, de La Houssaye recounts the emotional voyage of a Creole of Color, Dahlia the quadroon. The pages that recount Dahlia's youth are truly astonishing, even hypnotic, and must be counted among the most beautiful creations ever penned in Louisiana. Even so, the reader cannot forget that in this Germinal louisianais, it's the women who are exploited, in the depths of dark and shady society within a city that considered women to be no more than things. Dahlia thus becomes a symbol for all women who seek light, room to breathe and the liberty to choose a life of her own creation. Dahlia is a worthy swansong of Sidonie de La Houssaye. e.