Dorsinville, Max Books

Dr. Max Dorsinville holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The City University of New York. He is Professor of English at McGill University, where he teaches Caribbean, Postcolonial and Modernist literature. The author of several works of literary criticism, he translated and edited six volumes of Roger Dorsinville’s writings and published by The Edwin Mellen Press. He has also written two novels – James Wait et les lunettes noires (1995) and Erzulie Loves Shango (1998). Understanding Contemporary Cuba in Visual and Verbal Forms (2004)is his first book combining his interest in the arts and critical writing.

Collected Edition of Roger Dorsinville’s Postcolonial Literary Criticism in Africa
2003 0-7734-6652-5
The contribution of this collection to scholarship is fourfold: it contributes to the expansion of knowledge about the African continent through a critic’s response to its many forms of representation by writers outside as well as inside Africa; the range of writings provides intertextual evidence supportive of Dorsinville’s own complex representation of Africa in his fiction and memoirs; it is a documented record of a broad paradigm concerned with a postcolonial representation of the dialectic of home and exile, memory and identity, and selfhood and otherness; and it provides a fascinating display of a postcolonial writer-critic’s intellectual journey enlivened by his use of voice in the African tradition of oral exchange whereby he positions himself as the one speaking to and for the many. The volumes follow the original chronology of the publication of the individual texts. The contents range from books on (or by) Doris Lessing to David Halberstam, Idi Amin, and Muhammad Ali. The pieces are in French.

Critical Edition of Haitian Writer Roger Dorsinville’s Memoirs of Africa
2002 0-7734-7205-3


Critical Edition of Haitian Writer Roger Dorsinville’s Memoirs of Haiti
2002 0-7734-6925-7


Haitian’s Coming of Age in 1959. In the Postcolonial Light and Shadow of Castro and Duvalier
2005 0-7734-6053-5
This first-person narrative, in both French and English, by a sixteen-year-old Haitian told in diary form in 1959 parallels the coming to power of Castro in Cuba and contrasts the continued role of François (“Papa Doc”) Duvalier in Haiti. Both historical figures hover over the narrative and represent the hope and despair the narrator identifies as rite of passage away from his native Haiti, torn between his upbringing in a French Canadian boarding school and an apartment in Queens, New York, with his expatriate parents. This experimental book mixes languages in giving form to the process of individual growth. It uses Canada’s two official languages as formal references to the poles of cultural integration the narrator is called upon by upbringing to recognize and accept. Thus the narrative begins in French and subsequently shifts to English, symbolically characterizing the narrator’s growing up as a process embedded in the changing form of language.

Post Colonial Stories by Roger Dorsinville in the Shadow of Conrad’s Marlow
2001 0-7734-7516-8
This volume contains a critical edition of interconnected stories by the Haitian writer Roger Dorsinville. They unfold in the form of a journey from childhood in the Caribbean to old age in Africa, and in the circular form of initiation retrospectively understood as a key to masculine and feminine behavior in the Caribbean and Africa. The Introduction argues that these stories draw the reader’s attention to a Conradian link between narrative form and power tactics. A number of creative and critical texts are appended along with a selected bibliography.

Rule of Francois (“papa Doc”) Duvalier in Two Novels by Roger Dorsinville Realism and Magic Realism in Haiti
2000 0-7734-7830-2
A critical edition of two translated novels (The Mad King and The Creator and the Mad King), from the French, by Haitian writer Roger Dorsinville (1911-1992) on the rule of Francois Duvalier. This volume argues critically that Roger Dorsinville’s novels fit in the tradition of Joseph Conrad’s narratives exploring the darker side of human and social behavior as well as the in the Latin American stream of magic realism. This is a contribution to scholarship of a Haitian writer’s highly moral account of irrationality in individual and social behavior; one which evolves as it reverses historical referentiality in representation and celebrates a norm for goodness located in artistic reflexivity. A number of critical texts are appended, along with selected bibliography.

Understanding Contemporary Cuba in Visual and Verbal Forms
2004 0-7734-6576-6
This study is a contribution to literary and cultural history. It argues that, as mirrored acts of representation, the visual and verbal yield a common language based on the image defined by Ezra Pound as ‘an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.’ The study refers to other modernist writers such as Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot, and Ernest Hemingway, the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the theories on perception of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and John Berger. It applies these perspectives to the works of diverse writers who chose Cuba for a subject, finding a rich field for discussion of issues of representation, language and perception. In the concept of the gaze, it argues for the significance of a link between modernist theory and Cuban life represented in a range of works by Cristina Garcia, Edmundo Desnoes, Pico Iyer, Derek Walcott, and others, where nothing is what it seems.