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CrazyFruits13  » The » Jacques Stephen alexis biography: the mystery

Jacques Stephen alexis biography: the mystery

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Jacques Stephen Alexis Biography
Jacques Stephen Alexis (Gonaïves, Haiti, 22 April 1922–Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti, c. 22 April 1961[1]) was a Haitian communist novelist, poet, and activist. He is best known for his novels Compère Général Soleil (1955), Les Arbres Musiciens (1957), and L'Espace d'un Cillement (1959), and for his collection of short stories, Romancero aux Etoiles (1960).

Alexis was born in Gonaïves, the son of journalist, historian and diplomat Stephen Alexis and descendant of one of Haiti's founding fathers, Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Alexis grew up in a family in which literary and political discussions were the norm. At the age of 18, he made what was regarded as remarkable literary debut with an essay about the Haitian poet, Hamilton Garoute. He collaborated on a number of literary reviews, before founding La Ruche, a group dedicated to creating a literary and social spring in Haiti in the early 1940s. After completing medical school in Paris, he traveled throughout Europe and lived for a few years in Cuba.

In 1955, his novel Compère Général Soleil, was published by Gallimard in Paris. The novel has been translated into English as General Sun, My Brother, and is a must-read for all those with an interest in understanding Haiti. He followed up with "Les Arbres Musiciens" (1957), L'Espace d'un Cillement (1959), and "Romanceros aux Etoiles" (1960).

Jacques Stephen Alexis was a descendant of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a military leader who rose above slavery in 1791, overcoming the existing rulers and giving the name of Haiti to the French West Indian Colony of Saint-Dominique. Although Dessalines was considered to be a harsh ruler, he is an important part of Haitian history.

During his father’s stay in Europe as a diplomat, Alexis attended the Collège Stanislas in Paris. Once they returned to Haiti, he attended and graduated from Collège Saint-Louis de Gonzague. Although Alexis studied medicine in school, he followed his love of writing before entering a career of political dissonance.

At the age of 18, Alexis wrote a well-received essay about Hamilton Garoute, a notable poet. The essay earned him early recognition as a gifted writer.

Shortly thereafter, Alexis completed several novels, all of which focused on the life of Haitian peasants living in the city. His writings offered lifelike portrayals of the people of Haiti, providing enjoyable stories that captured the interest of many people.

Marxist Influence
His Haitian upbringing had a strong influence on his writings as did the Marxist views of Jacques Roumain, a prominent Haitian writer and political activist. Roumain fought for Haitian nationalism and was exiled for a time because of it. Alexis met Roumain during the 1940s. At that time, he also met several other Communist writers and journalists. Shortly thereafter, he created an opposition literary group as well as a journal (La Ruche).

Jacques Stephen Alexis

In 1955, Alexis wrote a novel entitled Compére Général Soleil, which was published in Paris by Gallimard, a leading French publicist. In English, the title translates to General Sun, My Brother, and it is one of his most famous works because it depicts Haitian life during the 1930s. The novel offers intricate descriptions of what it was like to live under the American Occupation as well as during the massacres that took place in the Dominican Republic. This is the novel that drew international attention to Alexis.

In 1957, he completed his novel Les Arbres Musiciens, and in 1959, he wrote L’Espace d’un Cillement. His novels were huge successes, partly because he had a real talent for blending human nature and poetic writing into realistic storylines. In his novels, the protagonists experience life through all five senses, enabling them to fully access emotional climaxes that take the reader on the journey throughout the novel. Alexis makes his characters come to life in a realistic fashion, drawing upon the knowledge he gained throughout life from the individuals who influenced his perception of the world.

Politics and Exile
His political leanings were strong and took him on a deadly course that began with the creation of a left-oriented political group known as the People’s Consensus Party (Parti pour l’Entente Nationale-PEP) in 1959. Alexis chose to challenge the current administration publicly due to his distaste for it. He spoke out against the tyranny and oppression practiced by the existing regime, which placed a target on his back. Shortly thereafter, he was exiled by the administration of the Haitian dictator, Francois Duvalier.

During his exile, Alexis attended a meeting of representatives from 81 communist parties located across the globe. The meeting took place in Moscow in August of 1960. At that time, he chose to represent Haitian communists, signing his own name to a document known as The Declaration of the 81. During that year, he wrote his collection of short stories, Romanceros aux Etoiles.

Mao Zedong, China’s Communist leader in 1961, invited Alexis to meet with him. The meeting was part of an effort to strengthen the Communist Party and its ties throughout the world.

Return to Haiti
Two years after he was exiled, Alexis returned to his country with a small group of his supporters on April 22, 1961, his 39th birthday. They landed in Mole St-Nicolas. Despite the fact that they did so in secret, their presence was quickly discovered by soldiers who were accompanied by Duvalier’s Tonton Macoutes (personal police force). The entire group was captured by Duvalier’s underlings and tortured until they were finally killed in 1961 by Duvalier’s men in the public area where the soldiers took the people who they intended to put to death. Unfortunately, his final resting place is unknown.

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