Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1368-2679
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9142



This article examines the recently published (2005) journal of a French officer and soldier fighting in the final year (1802–1803) of the Haitian Revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte’s failed campaign to recolonize the French territory of Saint-Domingue has been the subject of historians and imaginative writers alike, but Pèyre-Ferry’s journal complicates previous representations of the French mission to subdue its former colony and reinstitute slavery. As captain of the grenadiers, Pèyre-Ferry fulfils his military duty but uses his journal to launch a subtly feminist critique of colonialism through the perspective of a male soldier. Indeed, Peyre-Ferry’s close relationship with his mother, played out in his journal, is the medium through which his anti-colonial and pro-feminist sentiments take shape. What emerges in this remarkable journal is a radical critique of the racist assumptions implicit in the colonial venture.


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