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Book from Centenary College's Heritage Language Series is Named an Official Book of 2007 by American Association of Teachers of French

SHREVEPORT, LA — It's official -- a book from Centenary College's Les Cahiers du Tintamarre series has been chosen one of the official books of 2007 by the American Association of Teachers of French. It is L'Habitation Saint-Ybars by Alfred Mercier.

As an official selection, it will become part of the Association's Book Club and will be promoted before and during the annual convention of the group's 9,000 members. Additionally, the AATF will sponsor discussion groups that will focus on the work and it will be featured in all the Association's publications throughout the coming year.

"It is a super book," said Centenary French Professor Dana Kress, "and this honor is a prelude to the outright canonization of a major, if previously unknown, Louisiana writer."

The book is one of 20 books that have been saved from extinction and reprinted in their original languages by the Centenary Heritage Language Project through its two imprints, Les Cahiers du Tintamarre and Les Éditions Tintamarre.

Its author, Alfred Mercier, was born June 3, 1816, on the McDonogh plantation near New Orleans. He was a doctor and writer whose career represented the highest point of Creole literature. He spent much of his youth traveling in Europe where he studied medicine, frequented the salons of major romantic literary figures and established friendships with the radical thinkers of the period.

In 1869, Alexandre Dumas, a friend of Mercier who served as editor of Dumas’ literary journal, Le d’Artagnan, advised him to flee the coming Franco-Prussian War. Mercier and his family sought refuge in New Orleans where he earned his living as a doctor and became involved in the literary scene of Creole Louisiana. The period between 1873 and 1881 was particularly prolific for Mercier as a man of letters. He published several novels in quick succession: Le Fou de Palerme (1873), La Fille du Prêtre (1877), Lidia and his masterpiece, L’Habitation Saint-Ybars (1881).

Members of the editorial staff for the book were Dr. Kress, chairman of Centenary's Department of Ancient and Modern Languages; Clint M. Bruce, a graduate student at Brown University and a French graduate of Centenary; David Cheramie of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana; Richard Guidry, the Louisiana Department of Education (retired); Carol Lazzaro-Weis, University of Missouri, Columbia; Chris Michaelides, University of Louisiana, Monroe; and May Rush Waggoner, University of Louisiana, Lafayette. The cover of the 2003 book was designed by then-student Susan King of Centenary.

The Centenary Heritage Language Project describes its mission as follows: “The Louisiana Purchase gave our young nation thousands of new citizens whose heritage traced its roots to France, French-speaking Canada, Germany, Spain, Africa and the Caribbean. By fate, these settlers, slaves and refugees became American and yet retained their own cultures, languages and traditions. Indeed, they have left us in their newspapers, their books, their manuscripts and their songs a rich and varied account of their lives in the new world. It is this experience, expressed in languages we hear less often today, which is championed by Les Cahiers du Tintamarre and Les Éditions Tintamarre."

Centenary College of Louisiana undertook the editions of these texts with the financial help of the Louisiana Board of Regents in the framework of the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund.

For further information, see www.centenary.edu/editions.


L’Habitation Saint-Ybars, ISBN: 0-9723258-2-4 $15.50

To order this book, contact the bookstore of Centenary College:
by email at bookstor@centenary.edu
by telephone at (318) 869-5278,
or by fax at (318) 869-5295




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