This essay discusses Éloge de la créolité and Patrick Chamoiseau’s novels and later texts, arguing that créolité, or creoleness, is far more complex and ambiguous than its critics have hitherto assumed. It is not confined to the Creole language but can be expressed in French, as in Chamoiseau’s writing. More important, it is not a straightforward identitarian movement: it both claims a creole identity and simultaneously questions that claim. The characterizations in Chamoiseau’s novels demonstrate that cultural alienation is not the opposite of creoleness but an inevitable part of it. Chamoiseau identifies as much with the alienated figures—often but not solely mulattoes—as he does with the others. Also, his later writings reject his earlier militant stance for an amoral complexity and find beauty in the imaginary and the marvelous.

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