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Mapping Hispaniola

Third Space in Dominican and Haitian Literature
Megan Jeanette Myers

BUY Cloth · 234 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813943077 · $59.50 · Aug 2019
BUY Ebook · 234 pp. · ISBN 9780813943091 · $59.50 · Aug 2019
BUY Paper · 234 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813943084 · $29.50 · Aug 2019

Because of their respective histories of colonization and independence, the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic has developed into the largest economy of the Caribbean, while Haiti, occupying the western side of their shared island of Hispaniola, has become one of the poorest countries in the Americas. While some scholars have pointed to such disparities as definitive of the island’s literature, Megan Jeanette Myers challenges this reduction by considering how certain literary texts confront the dominant and, at times, exaggerated anti-Haitian Dominican ideology.

Myers examines the antagonistic portrayal of the two nations—from the anti-Haitian rhetoric of the intellectual elites of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo’s rule to the writings of Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, and others of the Haitian diaspora—endeavoring to reposition Haiti on the literary map of the Dominican Republic and beyond. Focusing on representations of the Haitian-Dominican dynamic that veer from the dominant history, Mapping Hispaniola disrupts the "magnification" and repetition of a Dominican anti-Haitian narrative.


Mapping Hispaniola is a monumental work that thoroughly and astutely explores the intersections and connections between the countries of Hispaniola in the literature created by its writers, whether based on the island or in the Diaspora. Binary us/them representations are debunked and instead we are connected to the third spaces in literature that show the nuances and connections behind the divisions, polemics and ideologies. Cogently argued and written, with clarity and elegance, this will become one of the seminal texts in the study of the literature not just of Hispaniola and the Caribbean, but of communities and countries that share border spaces and places. Megan Myers does with critical theory what the writers she studies have done with their fiction, poetry, plays, stories and memoirs: create more light.

Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

In Mapping Hispaniola, Megan Jeanette Myers tackles an extremely rich and complex topic, that of representations of the Dominican border. She does so largely be examining the twentieth century writings of Dominican novelists and poets, and placing them within the context of historical representations and struggles over the border itself. The corpus is interesting, comprising a mix of relatively well-studied texts and others that have received less attention. Myers successfully coheres the analysis of these texts around a vision of the border region that draws from various theorizations, including that of Anzaldua, seeing the border itself as a space of layered complexity and contradiction.

Laurent Dubois, Duke University, author of  Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

In this unique study, Myers (Iowa State Univ.) looks at national identity and the relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic from a literary persepctive.... Diasporic texts exemplify Dominican, Haitian, and Latinx peoples' shared experiences back home and within the US immigrant community. This is a vital contribution to Caribbean studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.


About the Author(s): 

Megan Jeanette Myers is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Iowa State University.

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