CRITICAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN ABOO AND CABOO on a New Book. Adrien-Emmanuel Rouquette.


Or a Grandissime Ascension. Edited by B. Junius. Mingo City: Great Publishing House of Sam Slick Allspice, 1880. Original printed wrappers.

First Edition of this pseudonymous work condemning George W. Cable's books about the Creoles of Louisiana, in particular his second book THE GRANDISSIMES, published in 1880. Born and raised in New Orleans, Cable supported Creole life but came to believe that it would always depend upon slavery, which he was against; though he had fought for the Confederacy, Southerners' resentment against his books prompted him to move his family to Northampton Massachusetts, not far from Hartford and Mark Twain: the two became friends and even toured together.~Adrien Rouquette (1813-1887) was likewise born in Louisiana (of a French father, a wealthy wine importer, and a Creole mother); as a boy he would run away from the family's summer home to play with nearby Choctaw Indian children. Partly for this reason, he was sent to school first in Kentucky and ultimately in Paris; after garnering some fame as a poet, both in France and in Louisiana, he ultimately became a Catholic priest in New Orleans -- but in 1859, after fourteen years in the priesthood, he severed all ties and spent his almost-thirty remaining years as a missionary among the Choctaws on the banks of Bayou Lacombe.~THE GRANDISSIMES provoked a storm of criticism from white New Orleans Creoles... The most flamboyant attack on the novel came from a priest, Adrien-Emmanuel Rouquette... This remarkable work presents Agricola Fusilier, Cable's representative of Creole racism in THE GRANDISSIMES, risen from the dead, renamed Aboo, and returned to Louisiana after the Civil War. While weeping bitterly over the ruined plantations he sees, he is accosted by his kinsman, Caboo, and the two immediately focus their dialogue not on the destruction of the war but on the insults to their family bandied about in THE GRANDISSIMES. That book's author, Aboo maintains, "is, we have been told, a native of Louisiana," but he reveals himself as a cultural scalawag, pandering to northern prejudices and grossly misrepresenting the glories of Creole culture... They return obsessively to the likelihood of "Negro" influence on the book... Most damning, however, are the insinuations that Cable himself supports and practices miscegenation. [Haddox]~The three great Louisiana writers, Rouquette the poet, Fortier the critic, and Gayarre the historian, published pamphlets condemnatory of Mr. George W. Cable's conceptions of Creole life and history as set forth in his many books. The Abbé sent his out anonymously... From the Creole standpoint THE GRANDISSIMES most probably deserved to be satirized, but not in the cheap and easy manner of this little pamphlet. It was a very unhappy swan-song of senility for the Abbé Rouquette... [J. W. Townsend]~Quite remarkably for such a delicate pamphlet, this copy is in near-fine condition (a couple of small edge chips, minor darkening of the wrapper). The first inside leaf bears the inkstamp of Dr. Harris Kennedy, whose noted Lafcadio Hearn / New Orleans collection went to Harvard. Item #11192

Price: $425.00

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