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At the age of seven Tituba watched as her mother was hanged for daring to wound a plantation owner who tried to rape her She was raised from then on by Mama Yaya a gifted woman who shared with her the secrets of healing and magic But it was Tituba's love of the slave John Indian that led her from safety into slavery and the bitter vengeful religion practiced by the good citizens of Salem Massachusetts Though protected by the spirits Tituba could not escape the lies and accusations of that hysterical time As history and fantasy merge Maryse Condé acclaimed author of TREE OF LIFE and SEGU creates the richly imagined life of a fascinating woman CARAF Books Caribbean and African Literature Translated from FrenchThis book has been supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities an independent federal agency

10 thoughts on “Moi Tituba sorcière

  1. says:

    What is a witch? I noticed that when he said the word it was marked with disapproval Why should that be? Why? Isn't the ability to communicate with the invisible world to keep constant links with the dead to care for others and heal a superior gift of nature that inspires respect admiration and gratitude? Maryse Condé I Tituba Black Witch of Salem With my interest in discovering hidden stories this book was right up my alley I can hardly think of a worse fate than being an enslaved black woman in the New World in the 17th Century I know about the Salem Witch Trials but I didn't know that there was a black witch who had played a role Tituba who was born and raised in Barbados but moved to America ends up playing such a pivotal role in the Salem witch trials yet I'd never heard of her until I came across this book I think it's obvious that what was omitted in history clearly shows what or who has been valued in history It also shows that in many cases black people weren't even considered worthy of a footnote Angela Davis' foreword is very powerful and one part I kept coming back to because it resonated with me as I believe it would resonate with anyone who wasn't taught their proper history Tituba looked for her story in the history of the Salem witch trials and could not find it I have looked for my history in the story of the colonization of this continent and I have found silences omissions distortions and fleeting enigmatic insinuationsBut literature is powerful and gives life and a voice to people long dead and sometimes long forgotten It is indeed a moment of triumph when Condé decided to give Tituba a voice Even if someone didn't get justice then they can at least get some sense of justice through literature especially when their story which may have been ridiculed is finally understood Tituba's revenge consists in having persuaded one of her descendants to rewrite her own moment in history in her own African oral tradition

  2. says:

    Wow Wow Wow I have no words I was recommended this book by my Black literature professor and I already knew that all of her recommendations slap so I don't know why I am as shocked as I am right now but this book man this book is it I Tituba Black Witch of Salem will go down as one of my favorites of 2020 if not of all time Before we get into it and boy we will get into it I would look to draw your attention to the wonderful Maryse Condé who crafted this masterpiece Maryse Condé is a Guadeloupean novelist critic and playwright and all her works explore the African diaspora that resulted from slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean She writes in French and if you're able to speak the language I'd highly advise reading her work in the original because damn this woman can write but her novels have been translated into English German Dutch Italian Spanish Portuguese and Japanese so make sure to check them outAll her novels explore racial gender and cultural issues in a variety of historical eras and locales so there should be something for everyone's liking Ségou is set in the 19th century Bamabara Empire of Mali The Tree of Life concerns itself with the building of the Panama Canal in the 20th century and its influence on increasing the West Indian middle class and then in I Tituba Black Witch of Salem she treats us to a uniue and never been done before look at the Salem witch trials at the end of the 17th century in colonial Massachusetts Another book worth mentioning is Windward Heights her very own adaption of Wuthering Heights in a Caribbean setting I know that this will be the next Condé that I'll write I've been dying to get my hands on an explicitly Black Heathcliff for years nowMaryse Condé has kept considerable distance from most Caribbean literary movements such as Negritude and Creolité and has often focused on topics with strong feminist and political concerns A radical activist in her work as well as in her personal life Condé has admitted I could not write anything unless it has a certain political significance I have nothing else to offer that remains importantNow that I've hopefully piued your interest in Maryse Condé's writing let's get into the historical background of Tituba since it'll explain why Condé's book is so brave and necessary Tituba was the first woman to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the 1692 Salem witch trials She was enslaved and owned by Samuel Parris of Danvers Massachusetts Although her origins are debated research has suggested that she was a South American native and sailed from Barbados to New England with Samuel ParrisLittle is known regarding Tituba's life prior to her enslavement She became a pivotal figure in the witch trials when she confessed to witchcraft while also making claims that both Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne participated in said witchcraft She was imprisoned and later released by Samuel Conklin but little to nothing is known about Tituba's life following her subseuent release Maryse Condé has taken it upon herself to breathe life into this woman's life story In her fictitious account of her life I Tituba Black Witch of Salem Maryse Condé moves Tituba from the margins to which she was condemned by historians and scholars alike to the centre In the true fashion of the postcolonial practice of writing back Maryse Condé gives voice to a woman that history has neglected and tossed aside for way too long In recent years works such as Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea JM Coetzee's Foe and Peter Carey's Jack Maggs which 'write back' to classic English texts have attracted considerable attention as offering a paradigm for the relationship between postcolonial writing and the 'canon' Like Toni Morrison once said the absence of Blackness or people of color to put it in broader terms is also a presence it lingers in every work of white classic literature that we read When we read books by white authors that feature only white characters and were intended for a white audience the uestion about the 'other' are always subconsciously on our minds Where are the people of color in these narratives? Through 'writing back' postcolonial writers manage to place people of color right back at the centres of narratives where they belong I think a lot of people would benefit from reading and engaging with postcolonial literature as it makes ourselves aware of the gaps in our bookshelves our education our minds it centres voices that have been silenced for way too long Therefore I Tituba Black Witch of Salem is a must read for everyone It cannot be that revered classics about the Salem witch trials don't mention Tituba at all or place her at the sidelines with next to no significance like Arthur Miller's The CrucibleJe hurlai et plus je hurlais plus j’éprouvais le désire de hurler De hurler ma souffrance ma révolte mon impuissante colère uel était ce monde ui avait fait de moi une esclave une orpheline une paria? uel était ce monde ui me séparait des miens? ui m’obligeait à vivre parmi des gens ui ne parlaient pas ma langue ui ne partageaient pas ma religion dans un pays malgracieux peu avenant?translation I screamed and the I screamed the I felt the desire to scream To scream out my suffering my revolt my impotent anger What was this world that had made me a slave an orphan an outcast? What was this world that separated me from my own? What was this world that forced me to live among people who did not speak my language who did not share my religion in a country that was crude and not very accommodating?In the Condé's novel Tituba is biracial born on Barbados to a young African slave woman who was raped by an English sailor Tituba's mother is hanged after defending herself from the sexual advances of her white owner Tituba is run off the plantation and becomes a maroon having no owner but not able to connect to society She grows up living with an old spiritual herbalist named Mama Yaya whom I absolutely adored like she was the best and learning about traditional healing methods She falls in love and marries a slave John Indian willing to return to slavery on his behalf This is just the first of many uestionable choices Tituba makes for her loversShortly thereafter Tituba and John Indian are sold to Samuel Parris the Puritan clergyman known historically for bringing about the Salem Witch Trials Parris takes Tituba and John Indian to Boston then to Salem Village where Tituba is accused of witchcraft and arrested Tituba is thrown into a cell with a pregnant Hester Prynne the heroine from Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter The bond that these women form I cannot put into words how much their relationship and love and care for each other meant to me Like Condé really did thatTituba survives the trials by confessing and is sold as a servant to a Jewish merchant Benjamin Cohen d'Azevedo She cares for Benjamin and his nine children until the Puritans set fire to the house killing all the children He decides to set her free and sends her back to BarbadosTituba initially stays with a group of maroons sleeping with their leader Christopher who dreams of immortality She returns to the shack where she had lived with Mama Yaya and works as a healing herbalist for the slaves in the area The slaves bring her a young man Iphigene who they thought would die but Tituba nurses him back to health He plans a revolt against the plantation owners The night before the revolt the couple are arrested They and his followers are hanged Tituba and Iphigene join the spirit realm inciting future revolts whenever possibleMaryse Condé really manages to make Tituba come to life No matter how unbelievable some of the things that happen to her are Tituba always feels real She is very human with the ability to make mistakes Many of her irrational and seemingly illogical decisions are inspired by listening to her heart not her head She is perhaps one of the most relatable characters in historical fiction possessing very modern views on sexual liberation and showing respect for the beliefs of others which differ from her own I Tituba Black Witch of Salem is despite its heavy themes SUCH A FUN BOOK I know a bit weird but Maryse Condé writes in such a fun fresh inspiring and empowering way you cannot help to fall in love with Tituba Her wit her sarcasm the way she details the hypocrisy of the often religious societies that she finds herself in This novel is such a treat It made me so damn happy It's such a playful novel that still manages to tear on your heartstrings This book is everything

  3. says:

    455I'm flabbergasted by anyone proclaiming the death of the novel in this day and age I really am Not only is the word novel built on arbitrary Eurocentric standards that weren't even validated by academia until men wrested the structure away from female writers where's that infamous lust for weirdly wrought frontiers so proudly held up by the status uo? Is it the fanfiction spanning thousands of 250 word average pages that scares one to pieces? Or is it the burgeoning non European sense of the word nibbling at the bulwarks of colonial sanctity that's walking over one's grave? Whatever it is it's exemplified by this book here one written than 20 years ago and still sparking enraged It's not historical fiction It's not apolitical an impossible state btw I can't like it if I can't pigeonhole it in the reviews below Despite the absurdity of the lot I can't help but look fondly on such flustered hullabaloo for it's guaranteed to lead me somewhere interestingIf you mixed Mr Fox and Omeros together you wouldn't get anything like this but it's a good grounding for the postmodern parody forging of identity reclamation of post colonial culture jargon one's going to be throwing out whenever someone encounters a black female writer who doesn't write in English about serious endeavors with which she insists of having fun Fun's a poor word for it but 'joyful humanity' is a bit too bogged so find your own worded intermediary in this tale of Tituba come back to get her revitalizing revenge on a slighting history that is never about the usual death and destruction and all that patriarchal jazz but life There's torture and murder and not a bit of shying away from the reek of bodily functions propagated by poor pieces of historical works that encourages such misbegotten yearnings for a time of little bathing and no indoor plumping but ultimately there is lifeGetting back to the death of the novel I'd believe it if there weren't works like these so concerned with the erasure of history the eradication of selves due to physical characteristics and the creation of a rich and wonderful reality through the powers of composition and a devil may care eualizing of truth and humanity Times may have changed but the world remains one where the very existence of certain combinations of traits in particular persons is cause for consternation and critical evaluation making for works such as these that uestion the reader as much as the values of past present and future Best of all this is no looming straightjacket of academic hogwash but a fascinating piece of sex and magic and areas of the world too often brushed over by official pens and papers In short those death of the novel ers don't know what they're missingPS Bisexuality They didn't say it but fanfiction senses don't lie

  4. says:

    475 the last uarter star left off due to my own failingsI came to this novel expecting historical fiction of a sort a reimagining and expansion of the story of a woman central to the Salem witch trials of the 17th century Though the author makes use of the historical record this is not ‘mere’ historical fiction; it’s so much folklore feminist text epic tale even speculative fiction of a sortCondé works from one of the assertions that Tituba was from Barbados taken from there by Reverend Parris who eventually settles in the village of Salem different from the town of Salem not sure I realized that before now Danvers Condé’s story starts with Tituba narrating her conception the rape of her mother an Ashanti woman by a white English sailor on a slave ship ironically named Christ the King part of the slave trade from Africa to the West IndiesDue to my assumption I didn’t know what I was reading at first I noted some continuity errors or what I thought were such wondering if they were translation choices But when I got to the middle section with Tituba’s meeting Hester in jail I was astounded and had to reevaluate all that came before Hester does not end up with the same fate as that in her originator’s story and she speaks as a white feminist of today; but undoubtedly she is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Hester Confused as I was at first this meeting between the two women was my favorite part of the book Traditional as my reading can be I guess I'm a postmodernist at heartThe treatment of the Jewish people in Puritanical Massachusetts becomes a theme; and around this point of the story the language of the book changed becoming much smoother and all knowing I was having issues with the latter again wondering if some of it was a translation choice; but due to what happens after Tituba returns to Barbados that too ends up making senseThe afterword written by Ann Armstrong Scarboro which also includes her interview with Condé helped me feel better about my confusions Armstrong Scarboro admits that on her first reading she completely missed the parody of the last section I certainly did and I know I would benefit from a reread as wellFor the same stated purpose of this novel I was reminded of another short novel I recently read Ana Historic by Daphne Marlatt Both are written by women who wanted to add to and expand the story of a woman whose fuller story was left out of the historical record by the men in chargeIn the interview Condé says she wanted the title of the work to be merely I Tituba but the publisher said it was too “laconic” I can’t help but think the subtitle was added for a sensational effect as Condé’s Tituba is a healer not a witch in the sense it's defined here and she’s certainly not ‘of’ Salem

  5. says:

    There would never ever be a careful sensitive biography recreating my life and its suffering The Guadeloupean author Maryse Condé was the first and probably the last given its one off purpose winner of The New Academy Prize in Literature create after the problems that prevented the Nobel Prize being awarded this year See The citation readMaryse Condé is a grand storyteller Her authorship belongs to world literature In her work she describes the ravages of colonialism and the postcolonial chaos in a language which is both precise and overwhelming The magic the dream and the terror is as also love constantly present Fiction and reality overlap each other and people live as much in an imagined world with long and complicated traditions as the ongoing present Respectfully and with humour she narrates the postcolonial insanity disruption and abuse but also human solidarity and warmth The dead live in her stories closely to the living in a multitudinous world where gender race and class are constantly turned over in new constellationsHer 1986 novel Moi Tituba sorcière noire de Salem was translated into English in 1992 as I Tituba Black Witch of Salem by Richard Philcox her husband and well as her long term translatorIt tells the first person story of Tituba the alleged witch at the centre of the Salem witch trials but one pushed to the periphery in historical accounts of the incidents In the historical record both her origins but even her fate after the trials are at best vague her identity usually confined as she complains in the novel to a footnote a slave originating from the west indies and probably practising 'hoodoo'Like I suspect many English language readers my literary recognition of Tituba stems from the Arthur Miller play The Crucible one Condé dismisses in an interview included in the book noting that while she had seen the play in the past during her research for this novel she didn't bother revisiting it I knew that Miller as a white male writer would not pay attention to a black womanShe is rather less dismissive of the other major fictional account Ann Perry's Tituba of Salem Village which she read halfway through writing her novel although she admits to being a bit surprised and disappointed because Ann Perry turned the story into a book for adolescents a story of hope and dynamism This was not the type of story that I wanted to tell I am not interested in giving role models to young peopleCondé's novel gives Tituba back her past and her future but also her agency It opens brutally Abena my mother was raped by an English sailor on the deck of Christ the King one day in the year 16 while the ship was sailing for Barbados I was born from this act of aggression From this act of hatred and contemptCondé's account is also very intentionally not a historical novel but the opposite Other than one brief two page chapter taken verbatim from the transcript of Tituba's historical trial testimony Condé says she was not interested at all in what her real life could have beenIndeed this is a highly playful novel in prison Tituba encounters the fictional character Hester Prynne from Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and the two have a deliberately rather anachronistic discussion of feminismCondé's Tituba is also one blessed with special one could say from a Anglo Saxon perspective supernatural powers but ones she uses for good not evil When someone actually her soon to be lover Condé's Tituba is also a highly sexualised character first mentions as a warning while they are still in Barbados that some may see her as a witch she thinks What is a witch? I noticed that when he said the word it was marked with disapproval Why should that be? Why? Isn't the ability to communicate with the invisible world to keep constant links with the dead to care for others and heal a superior gift of nature that inspires respect admiration and gratitude? Conseuently shouldn't the witch if that's what this person whp has this gift is called be cherished and revered rather than feared?And imbuing her with these powers including her return to Barbados where she is urged to use them to lead a slave rebellion Condé 's narration takes on a deliberately mock epic tome As she noted to her interviewer in the book Do not take Tituba too seriously please the element of parody is very important if you wish to fully comprehend TitubaAnd just as Miller although one suspects she would not welcome the comparison cleverly used The Crucible to make points about McCarthy America Condé notes that writing Tituba was an opportunity to express my feelings about present day America I wanted to imply that in terms of narrow mindedness hypocrisy and racism little has changes since the days of the PuritansA very readable novel but one with surprising depth

  6. says:

    Firstly it haunts me still that I have only heard of Condé from the recent call for papers for the upcoming 2013 Medgar Evers National Black Writers Conference Immediately I had to take a look at anything that was hers translated into English What a magickal experience it was to read this fictional rendition of this mythic character for whom I have made many a frame of reference but had not heard this version of her story Condé's writing is elouent sharp intriguing and will grip your heart then wring your eyes into a pool of salt I was captured most when Tituba was in her homeland and not in the American soil I don't want to supply any spoilers but will say that I could not put it down I read it straight through in three days then gripped the book once it was completed and was challenged then to write my own story and consider who else's stories needed to be written or reconsidered What art What imagination What accuracy I am still overcome and am tempted to write a paper and respond to the call if for not other reason than to thank the conference coordinators for erupting in me this seed that has already sprouted a surprising wave of possibility And lastly I must say I was impressed by the admitted relationship with the character Hester which made this read all the delicious; the ancestral connection or so kinship and communion of ancerstors the hidden languages the songs the poetry in Condé's writing so many attributes The only thing I could wish for is that I had it erased from my memory so that I may read it again

  7. says:

    It is a rite of passage for many if not all American students to read Miller’s The Crucible That pretty much is the coverage of the Salem Witch Trials but not McCarthyism Conde’s book is the story of Tituba who many see as the starting point of the Salem crisis Conde’s plot starts with Tituba’s mother and her enslavement The focus is on Tituba not on the trials Tituba’s mother and father’s tale is all too tragic and all too true Tituba’s escape and then her enslavement not only allow her to become a “witch” but to also travel to Boston and then Salem It isn’t just a clash of cultures the impact of racism and the attacks on gender; it is a book about self and the discovery of female The inclusion of a one of American literature’s most famous heroines is a slightly false note simply because of the term feminism but a reasonable one considering the source The slight misstep if one sees it that way is slight because Tituba’s voice is so strong so demanding so passionate that it really doesn’t matter While Conde is drawing on Miller’s play than other historical sources outside of the description of slavery she many ways transcends it Miller’s play is about a man hounded by himself society but ultimately because he discards a mistress Conde’s story is about a woman hounded because of her skin tone A uick note – the edition I read includes a good foreword by Angela Y Davis and an afterword The afterword I found to be weak and somewhat insulting because it feels it must explain the book to the reader Yet it includes an interview with Conde and a wonderfully display of honesty from the interviewer Crossposted at Booklikes

  8. says:

    It is risky to damn a clearly feminist text when you're a man Thankfully that is a risk I'm happy to take There are times when we need to accept that uality does not mean ideology and I feel this is a perfect example thereofFor starters there is a decided discrepancy between the book's decided purpose giving a voice for a character in history who has been marginalized and the actual result of any speculative historical fiction This can be no a true take on who Tituba was than the menial information we may have from the Crucible and the historical texts which inspired both that and I Tituba If the real Tituba could come back and read this she may well be just as offended by the presumptions of this text as she would be of the mere footnote she registers in historical text There's also the fact that Tituba is a witch The text makes uite a bit of ado about the nature of the word she is not a witch in the negative sense that we read the word most often but she still conjures and brews and has magic at her fingertips This magic is real in terms of the book She can cure people with concoctions and charms influence fate with ritual sacrifice and even allow a man to speak with his dead family The horror of the witch trials was how the fervor grew like a flame and ended with so many innocent women imprisoned or slain for literally doing nothing By framing Tituba as a literal sorceress of her own sort it is harder to be sympathetic The reader knows she is a good witch but even without the religious overtones to Puritan society how many modern people would not still fear someone who if magic existed knew how to harness that energy? We can look at the sexist and racist undertones of these decisions but that becomes little than a mask when the protagonist is no longer falsely accused especially when Tituba herself invokes venom against her tormentors with the same blindness they use to judge her as a black woman We understand yet something still rings falseNo less difficult is that Tituba in some way brings this upon herself She lives free in Barbados but in pursuing a man one known for his flightiness and trickery she finds herself enslaved as the wife of a slave There was fair warning from the magic world She ignores it Tituba unconstrained by the s of an incredibly conservative white population is very sexual but what keeps her ensnared time and time again through the novel is not this freedom of sexual expression but her inability to keep it separate from love From her first enslavement with Joe Indian to the final liaison leading to her death it is not men who trap her but herself who allows herself to wander into the snares Further it is she who practices her magic in a world that is already suspicious It is she who lets the children know of her powers We see what could be a strong female character continually undone not only by a world that is ideologically oppressive to what she is from the start but by her own naivete in how she forges her way in that worldBy the time Hester Prynne makes her way into the narrative I was asking myself who is still reading this? This is the point where we leave the already tenuous historic elements behind for pure ideology Hester exists as a device another unfairly accused woman kept down by the patriarchy But Hester is so uintessentially fiction as a character not to say she could not be real but that she isn't and her existence in this text so immaterial to who that character is she becomes an elephant that everyone but Conde seems to notice in the room She is a fictional take on a fictional character which blows open the conceit of this being a real interpretation of Tituba than the very brief sketches left over from the witch trials Hester makes the suspension of disbelief we willingly engage in early on accepting the spiritual world feel all for naught It becomes artifice for a fully different agenda and is heavy handed in that delivery In the long run we're left with a story that becomes too self conscious of a subtext to do either the stated purpose of the text or the reader thereof much good

  9. says:

    Updated February 24 20204 5 starsI Tituba is amongst other things a parody of the heroic journey readers may be familiar with from GreekRoman myths Tituba is aware of how White historians erased her from history and Condé is the conduit through which she can finally tell her tale On a second read one thing that stands out to me is how Condé shapes the book to exist in that in between space between authentic slave narrative in which she gives the illusion the reader is learning the story directly from the source and a determined irony in which she has the text undercut Tituba's own ideas of her lack of fame and importance of the written wordTituba herself is such a relatable mess with her grand schemes of revenge and rebellion foiled by eually fundamental yet what some would consider lesser desires But are they? Tituba loves to love and be loved with a yearning for community and home that perhaps freedom could not provide as things were in 17th century Barbados and MassachusettsHester Prynne's appearance as White feminism's rep and references to the need for society to have welfare systems are some of the elements that make this novel fresher than new readers may expectBookstagram | Twitter January 10 2020 You're too fond of love TitubaAnd I wondered whether this was not a blemish in me a fault that I should have tried to cure myself ofToo in my feels about Tituba to give this a star rating but hot damn Condé is a Caribbean giant Bow down No review until I work out my response for an article No star rating because I feel like subjecting this book to a star rating would be an insult lol

  10. says:

    If you don't know Maryse Condé read her now She wrote this book in 1986 about Tituba a black slave from Barbados We know very little about Tituba's actual life from the history books Only what she said leading up to and pertaining to the Salem Witch trialsOther than that she may have not existed It reminds me of the one mention in history books of the Moroccan slave who survived the Spanish expedition in Florida in The Moor's Account So much is covered over a hand moves over the eyes wipes away the stain or paints on new eyes Lives forgotten hidden never lived Maryse Condé brings Tituba back to life much as Tituba does when she summons the spirits of her Mama Yaya and Abena from the dead for a conversationCondé's conversation with Tituba allows her to recreate an entire life and time not only the Salem episode And she has fun with it Turns out Tituba really was a witch a black witch but the word witch changes hands a million times To Tituba it's simply a way of being in touch with the elements around her to listen to the earth and give back a little as in a conversation Spirits come and go and she talks with them consults them has sex with them Tituba struggles in her new environments sold once twice three times And though she is known as the black witch from Salem that is but one small chapter of her life She struggles to understand the white man this creature so afraid of nature as if he does not come from it He innately pulls back from the sight of a black cat How long did he take to forget and learn to live in this world? But to her the danger is real it is hidden in the hearts of white men and women and children It is very much of this world and not the spirit world Of course it is The evil that will say anything to put an enemy's family on the line while appearing civilSuch a strange book It's historical fan fiction re imagined and unapologetic about its idiosyncrasies At one point she meets Hester probably Prynne given her adulterous charge and becomes her lover At another point she uses anachronistic terms like feminism and nth degree The language is fiery poetic and matter of fact depending At one point she wonders if the history books will erase her which sounded like Condé speaking than Tituba The voices meld as in any recollection of a conversation don't worry it's just a communion of spirits