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Encyclopedia > Jacques Roumain
Renowned Haitian contemporary writer and pro-revolutionary Jacques Roumain.
Renowned Haitian contemporary writer and pro-revolutionary Jacques Roumain.

Jacques Roumain (June 4, 1907August 18, 1944)was a Haïtian writer and Communist politician. Although poorly known in the English-speaking world, Roumain is well known in Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The great African-American poet, Langston Hughes, translated some of Roumain's greatest works, including Gouverneurs de la Rosée (Masters of the Dew). Although his life was short, Roumain managed to touch many aspects of Haitian life and culture. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... June 4 is the 155th day of the year (156th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 230th day of the year (231st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Haiti is a country situated on the western third of the island of Hispaniola and the smaller islands of La Gonâve, La Tortue (Tortuga), Grande Caye, and Ile a Vache in the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba; the Dominican Republic shares Hispaniola with Haiti. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and newspaper columnist. ...



Roumain was born on June 4th, 1907, in Port-au-Prince to wealthy parents. His grandfather, Tancrède Auguste, served as the President of Haiti from 1912 to 1913. He was educated in Catholic schools in Port-au-Prince, and, later, in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany and Spain. At twenty years old, he returned to Haiti and formed La Revue Indigene: Les Arts et La Vie (The Indigenous Review: Arts and Life), along with Philippe Thoby-Marcelin, Carl Brouard, and Antonio Vieux. Categories: Caribbean geography stubs | Capitals in North America | Haiti ... Carl Brouard (1902 - 1965) was a Haitian poet. ...

He was active in the struggle against the United States' occupation of Haiti. In 1934 he founded the Haitian Communist Party. Because of some of his political activities, his participation in the resistance movement against the United States' occupation, and most notably, his creation of the Haitian Communist Party, he was often arrested and finally exiled by then President Stenio Vincent. The United States occupation of Haiti began on July 28, 1915 and ended in mid-August, 1934. ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Haitian Communist Party (in French: Parti Communiste Haïtien) was a political party in Haiti, founded in 1934 by Jacques Roumain. ... Sténio Joseph Vincent (1874-1959) was President of Haiti from November 18, 1930 to May 15, 1941. ...

During his years in exile, Roumain worked with and befriended many prominent pan-African writers and poets of the time, including Langston Hughes. During this time he was also affiliated with Columbia University in New York City, where he conducted ethnographical research. With a change in government in Haiti, Roumain was allowed to return to his native country. Upon returning, he founded the Office of Ethnology. In 1943, President Elie Lescot appointed him charge d'affaires in Mexico, where his newly found creative freedom permitted him to complete two of his most influential books, the poetry collection Bois Debene (Ebony Wood) and the novel, Gouverneurs de la Rosée (Masters of the Dew), which sold less than a thousand copies the year it was published.[citation needed] Columbia University is a private research university in the United States. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Elie Lescot (December 9, 1883 – October 20, 1974) was the President of Haiti from May 15, 1941 to January 11, 1946. ...

Much of Roumain's work expresses the frustration and rage of people who have been downtrodden for centuries. He included the mass of the people in his writing and called on the poor to unite against privation.

Death and legacy

On August 18th, 1944, Jacques Roumain, one of Haiti's most respected and complex writers, died of still unknown causes at age 37. Roumain created some of the most colorful, dynamic, and moving poetry of his generation. His writings continue to influence and shape Haitian culture and the pan-African world of today.

By the time of his death, Roumain had become an acclaimed writer in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. His great novel, Gouverneurs de la Rosée, has achieved a permanent place among great Caribbean and Latin American literature. A novel that is still studied at universities, read by new generations, and acted out by theatrical groups. Latin American literature rose to particular prominence during the second half of the 20th century, largely thanks to the international success of the style known as magical realism. ...


"What are we? Since that's your question, I'm going to answer you. We're this country, and it wouldn't be a thing without us, nothing at all. Who does the planting? Who does the watering? Who does the harvestin? Coffee, cotton, rice, sugar cane, caco, corn, bananas, vegetables, and all the fruits, who's going to grow them if we don't? Yet with all that, we're poor, that's true. We're out of luck, that's true. We're miserable, that's true. But do you know why, brother? Because of our ignorance. We don't know yet what a force we are, what a single force - all the peasants, all the Negroes of the plain and hill, all united. Some day, when we get wise to that, we'll rise up from one end of the country to the other. Then we'll call a General Assembly of the Masters of the Dew, a great big coumbite of farmers and we'll clear out poverty and plant a new life". ("Masters of the Dew", p. 106).

Selected works

From the collection of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC:

  • "Oeuvres Complètes", Léon-François Hoffman, Ed. ALLCA XX (Coll. Archivos), Paris, 2003.
  • A propos de la campagne "anti-superstitieuse"." Port-au-Prince, Impr. de l’État [1944?]
  • Analyse schématique 1932-1934. [Haiti]: Editions idées nouvelles, idées prolétariennes, 1999.
  • Bois-d’ébène. Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Imp. H. Deschamps [c1945]
  • Ebony wood. Bois-d’ébène. Poems. The French text with a translation by Sidney Shapiro. New York: Interworld Press [1972] ISBN 0912956003
  • Les fantoches. [Port-au-Prince?] 1931.
  • Gouverneurs de la rosée, roman. [Port-au-Prince: Imprimerie de l’état, 1944]
  • Sar ha-telalim. Translated into Hebrew. [Merhavya, 1948]
  • Governadores del rocío. Tranlsated into Spanish. Habana: Impr. Nacional de Cuba [1961]
  • Zotër të vesës (roman). Translated into Armenian. [Tiranë]: Shtépia Botonjése Naim Frashéri [1968]
  • Gouverneurs de la rosée : roman. Fort-de-France [Martinique]: Désormeaux, [1979], c1977 (1983 printing)
  • Gouverneurs de la rosée : roman. Unité de Réghaïa, Algérie: ENAG, c1989.
  • Gouverneurs de la rosée. Coconut Creek, Fla.: Educa Vision Inc., [1999]. ISBN 1584320540
  • Masters of the dew. Gouverneurs de la rosée, translated by Langston Hughes and Mercer Cook. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, c1947.
  • Masters of the dew. Gouverneurs de la rosée, translated by Langston Hughes and Mercer Cook. Oxford; Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, [1997?], c1978. ISBN 0435987453
  • La montagne ensorcelée. [Port-au-Prince: S.N.E.P.] 1931.
  • La montagne ensorcelée. Paris: Messidor, c1987. ISBN 2209059224
  • La montagne ensorcelée. Paris: Éditeurs français réunis [1972]
  • La montagne ensorcelée: roman 4th ed. Montréal, QC: Mémoire d’encrier, 2005. ISBN 2923153332
  • Poèmes Port-au-Prince, Haïti: Editions des Antilles, [1993]
  • Poemas de una isla y de dos pueblos. With Pedro Mir, Jacques Viau. La Habana, Cuba: Casa de las Américas, 1974.
  • Poésies; Griefs de l’homme noir; La proie et l’ombre; La montagne ensorcelée (récit paysan) Port-au-Prince, Haïti: Editions fardin, 1998.
  • La proie et l’ombre. Portau-Prince, Haïti: Éditions "La Presse" [1930]


  • Fowler, Carolyn, A Knot in the Thread, Howard University Press, Washington, 1980.
  • Schutt-Ainé, Patricia; Staff of Librairie Au Service de la Culture (1994). Haiti: A Basic Reference Book. Miami, Florida: Librairie Au Service de la Culture, p. 105. ISBN 0-9638599-0-0. 

  Results from FactBites:
Jacques Roumain (488 words)
Jacques Roumain is one of Haiti's most highly respected writers.
Roumain incorporated different languages into his verse, Roumain stresses that privation is not just a fl or a Haitian problem, but a global reality.
Although much of Roumain's later verse is politically explosive, reflecting his belief that "the poet's art must be a weapon," many of the early works convey a kind of sweet nostalgia.
  More results at FactBites »



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