“Trois mondes interéssés dans la question”: Representaciones del espacio insular en Víctor Hugo y Alejo Carpentier
Both Victor Hugo’s Bug-Jargal (1826) and Alejo Carpentier’s El reino de este mundo (1949) focus on the 1791 Hatian slave revolt, but the ways they tell that story could not be more different. This article analyzes the differences between the two novels as they are reflected in their representations of the insular space. Hugo describes Haiti as an isolated area that does not establish further contact either with other Caribbean islands or with the continents engaged in the conflict between African slaves and European colonialists. In contrast, Carpentier’s Haiti is a versatile scope of encounters that represents what the famous prologue of his novel calls the “real maravilloso”. In both novels, the island thus serves a poetic function: As they provide very different descriptions of the island in which their narratives take place, the novels represent also different images of literature itself. Whereas Hugo's text is conceived as a fragmentary one, the one of Carpentier is based on a web of dense intertextual connections.