Based on Leonora Sansay’s eyewitness accounts of the final days of French rule in Saint Domingue (Haiti),
Secret History is a vivid account of race warfare and domestic violence. Sansay’s writing provocatively draws comparisons between Saint Domingue during the Haitian Revolution and the postrevolutionary United States, while fluidly combining qualities of the eighteenth-century epistolary novel, colonial travel writing, and political analysis. Laura, Sansay’s second novel, features as its protagonist a beautiful impoverished orphan who throws herself headlong into a secret marriage with a young medical student. When her husband dies in a duel in an effort to protect his wife’s reputation, Laura finds herself once more alone in the world. The republication of these works will contribute to a significant revision of thinking about early American literary history.
This Broadview edition offers a rich selection of contextual materials, including selections from periodical literature about Haiti, engravings, letters written by Sansay to her friend Aaron Burr, historical material related to the Burr trial for treason, and excerpts from literature referenced in the novels.