(December 11, 2015)
Centenary's Tintamarre press releases new book
Cover design for Saint-Ybars by Elena Hibbs '16.
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary's heritage language press, Les Éditions Tintamarre, has released one of the series' most unique and powerful works to date. Tintamarre 's English translation of Louisiana native and Centenary alumnus Alfred Mercier's Naturalist novel L'Habitation Saint-Ybars resurrects a work originally published in French and Creole in 1881.
"It is very exciting that Les Éditions Tintamarre has made this important work available to a wide public for the first time," says Dr. Dana Kress, Professor of French at Centenary and Editor-in-Chief for Tintamarre. "Those who are unfamiliar with the author's name should know that Mercier is a giant, indeed, the literary giant of French Louisiana. This is a book that peels back the complex layers of social issues of Mercier's time and yet resonates eerily today."
Alfred Mercier was born on a Louisiana plantation outside of New Orleans and spoke Creole and French before learning English and Latin at the age of nine at the College of Louisiana (today Centenary College of Louisiana). In 1829, he left for Paris where he eventually studied medicine, ran Jules Vallès' rabidly socialist newspaper La Rue, and became the editor of Alexandre Dumas' Le Dartagnon. During this period he also corresponded with Alexis de Tocqueville, and was one of the first publishers of Emile Zola, both in France, and later in the United States, after his return to New Orleans in 1868.
Saint-Ybars, though considered by many critics to be Mercier's most important work, has previously been available only to the few readers fortunate enough to have discovered it in French courses dedicated to Louisiana literature. Thanks to Tintamarre 's new English translation and an insightful introduction by Elizabeth A. Julian, Mercier's analysis of race, gender, and the politics of language in 19th century Louisiana is now widely accessible.
Kress's leadership of Tintamarre enables Centenary students to be involved in many aspects of the publishing process. Elena Hibbs '16, a communication major with a concentration in design and new media, designed the cover for Saint-Ybars. A previous cover design for Tintamarre 's annotated edition of Octavia: Femme créole de la Nouvelle Orléans earned Hibbs a Silver ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation of Shreveport-Bossier in February 2015.
Les Éditions Tintamarre is dedicated to the printing and re-printing of American literature originally written in any language other than English, and has created a catalogue of nearly 60 works.
Saint-Ybars is currently available on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0985734566.