Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 27. Literature before 1812

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXXI. Non-English Writings I

§ 27. Literature before 1812

Under French rule the only literature produced consisted of official accounts like the journal of Penicault, or the Mémoire des négociants et habitants de la Louisiane sur l’événement du 29 octobre, 1768, by Lafrénière et Caresse, of interest chiefly to historians. Under the Spaniards only a few pieces of any significance were written, and they uninspired, being altogether in the prevailing French mode. Julien Poydras, a wealthy planter, published at New Orleans in 1779 an epic poem on La Prise du Morne du Bâton-Rouge par Monseigneur de Galvez. Berquin Duvallon, a refugee from Santo Domingo, offered in 1801 a Recueil de Poésies d’un Colon de Saint-Domingue, of which Le Colon Voyageur is the best specimen.

It was not until after the War of 1812 that letters really flourished in French Louisiana. The contentment and prosperity that filled the forty years between 1820 and 1860 encouraged the growth of a vigorous and in some respects a native literature, comprising plays, novels, and poems.