Marie Vieux Chauvet

Marie Vieux-Chauvet
Vieux-Chauvet, Port-au-Prince 1963
Vieux-Chauvet, Port-au-Prince 1963
Born (1916-09-16)September 16, 1916
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Died (1973-06-19)June 19, 1973
New York City
Pen name Colibri
Occupation Writer
Nationality Haitian
Period 1947–73
Genre Novels, plays, short stories
Spouses Dr. Aymon Charlier, Pierre Chauvet
Relatives Constant Vieux (Father), Delia Nones (Mother)

Marie Vieux-Chauvet (September 16, 1916 – June 19, 1973)[1] was a Haitian novelist, poet and playwright. Born and educated in Port-au-Prince, she is most famous works for the novels Fille d'Haïti (1954), La Danse sur le Volcan (1957), Fonds des Nègres (1961), and Amour, Colère, Folie (1969).[2] She was also published under her maiden name, Marie Vieux.

Family history

Marie Vieux-Chauvet was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on September 16, 1916, to Constant Vieux, a Haitian politician, and his wife Delia Nones, a woman originally from the Virgin Islands.[3] Marie completed her studies at the l'Annexe de l'École Normale d'Institutrices and obtained a degree in elementary education in 1933.[3] She married Aymon Charlier, a doctor, then divorced him. She later married Pierre Chauvet, a travel agent.[3]


Vieux-Chauvet's works focus on class, color, race, gender, family structure and the upheaval of Haitian political, economic and social society during the United States occupation of Haiti[4] and dictatorship of François Duvalier. Although she lived under heavy surveillance during Duvalier's dictatorship, Vieux-Chauvet persisted as a writer, hosting meetings of the Les Araignées du Soir (Evening Spiders), a group of poets and writers of which she was the only female.

Vieux-Chauvet sent a trilogy of novellas to France to be published as a single book titled Amour, Colère, Folie (Love, Anger, Madness).[5] The trilogy Amour, Colère, Folie was published in 1968 by the prestigious publishing house Gallimard in Paris[2] with the support of Simone de Beauvoir. The trilogy was perceived as an attack on the Haitian dictator François Duvalier.[2] Fearing the dictator's legions of Tonton Macoutes, her husband bought all the copies of the book he could find in Haiti,[2] and Vieux-Chauvet's daughters bought the remaining copies from Gallimard a few years later.

She moved to New York City, where she worked as a housekeeper, and she remarried. She died of brain cancer in the United States on June 19, 1973.

Extracts from her work appear in the anthologies Her True-True Name[6] and Daughters of Africa.[7] An English translation of Amour, Colère, Folie (Love, Anger, Madness) by Rose-Myriam Réjouis and Val Vinokur was published in 2009 with an introduction by Haitian-American writer Edwige Danticat.

Literary awards

  • 1954 Prix de l'Alliance Française for Fille d'Haïti[3]
  • 1960 Prix France-Antilles for Fonds des Nègres[3]
  • 1986 Prix Deschamps (posthumous), for Amour, Colère et Folie[3]



  • Fille d'Haïti (Paris: Fasquelle, 1954; Paris: Zellige, 2014)[3]
  • La Danse sur le Volcan (Paris: Plon, 1957; Paris / Léchelle: Maisonneuve & Larose / Emina Soleil, 2004 (reprint with a preface by Catherine Hermary-Vieille); Léchelle: Zellige, 2008, 2009)[3] Translated into English by Salvator Attanasio as Dance on the Volcano (New York: William Sloane Associates, 1959)
  • Fonds des Nègres (Port-au-Prince: Henri Deschamps, 1960)[3]
  • Amour, Colère et Folie (Paris: Gallimard, 1968; Paris / Léchelle: Maisonneuve & Larose / Emina Soleil, 2005; Léchelle: Zellige, 2007, 2011; Paris: Zulma, 2015)[3]
  • Les Rapaces (Port-au-Prince: Deschamps, 1986)[3]


  • La Légende des Fleurs (Port-au-Prince: Henri Deschamps, 1947; Port-au-Prince: Éditions Marie Vieux, 2009)[3]
  • Samba (produced around 1948 in Port-au-Prince. Unpublished)[3]
  • Amour, Colère et Folie (adapted by José Pliya, Paris: Avant-Scène Théâtre, 2008). Amour was produced by Vincent Goethals, with Magali Comeau-Denis (Claire) and Cyril Viallon (dancer) and performed at L'Artchipel in Guadeloupe in 2008; Colère was produced by François Rancillac, with Nicole Dogué (Laura), at L'Artchipel in October 2008; Folie was produced by José Exélis in October 2009 at L'Artchipel.[3]

Short story

  • 'Ti-Moune nan Bois (Optique 7. September 1954: 57-60)[3]


  1. ^ "Chauvet, Marie". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2018-05-14.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Smarth Bell, Madison (January 14, 2010). "Permanent Exile: On Marie Vieux-Chauvet". The Nation. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Vitiello, Joelle. "Marie Chauvet". Île en Île. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  4. ^ "U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian".
  5. ^ Hoover, Elizabeth (August 9, 2010). "Between Squalor and Splendor: Haitian Literature and National Crisis". Sampsonia Way. City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  6. ^ Pamela Mordecai and Elizabeth Wilson (eds), Her True-True Name, Heinemann, 1989.
  7. ^ Margaret Busby (ed.), Daughters of Africa, London: Jonathan Cape, 1992.

Further reading

  • Chancy, Myriam. Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1997.
  • Dalleo, Raphael. Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere: From the Plantation to the Postcolonial. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.
  • Dash, Michael. The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World Context. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998.
  • Dayan, Joan. Haiti, History and the Gods. Berkeley: University of California, 1998.
  • Maximilien Laroche Trois études sur Folie de Marie Chauvet, Collection Essais, Québec, GRELCA. 1984
  • Schutt-Ainé, Patricia (1994). Haiti: A Basic Reference Book. Miami, Florida: Librairie Au Service de la Culture. p. 101. ISBN 0-9638599-0-0.

See also