Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 December 2020
This essay examines the anonymous serialization of George Numa Des Sources’s novella Adolphus, A Tale (1853) in The Trinidadian, a radical Brown newspaper published in Port of Spain. The plot – a romance about a Brown Trinidadian exiled in Venezuela – mirrors Des Sources’s own emigration scheme for founding a utopian socialist colony in eastern Venezuela. Written after emancipation but set during slavery, Adolphus evinces what I call 'nonhistorical' fiction, foregrounding how the experiences of enslavement disrupt not only the temporal linearity of History (what Édouard Glissant calls 'nonhistory'), but also the ideological continuities that Georg Lukács argues define the post-1848 historical novel. By narrating an alternative past (one in which the protagonist and Simón Bolívar form a transnational alliance and collaborate to advance the mission of multiracial democracy), Des Sources forges the nonhistorical foundation for the future that his emigrant colony hoped to realize.
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