ChRisTian høgsbJeRg
C. L. R. James’s Toussaint Louverture, published in this special edition for
the first time, is reproduced from the 1934 playscript now held in the Hull
History Centre (DJh / 21), and before then in the archives of the Brynmor
Jones Library at the University of Hull. It should be noted that I have made
a small number of changes. The spelling of some words and the names of
some of the characters and places have been brought in line with modern
usage (as used in the 2001 Penguin edition of James’s The Black Jacobins), so
“Bouckman” becomes “Boukman,” and so on. James had used “è” and “é”
haphazardly and inconsistently in the original text, so again I have followed
the spellings as found. I have retained James’s original spelling of “Louver-
ture,” and I compiled a list of characters in order of appearance at the start
of the play.
The original playscript contains several corrections made with pen over
the typed manuscript. It is not known when these were made, or even by
whom, but I have assumed these were made by James himself at the time
and I have respected them accordingly. There is also an issue concerning the
dating of the scenes in Act III. In the 1934 playscript, Act III, Scene 1, is de-
scribed as being set in “early 1802”; Act III, Scene 2, is “March 24th 1802, about
six o’clock in the evening”; Act III, Scene 3, “late in 1801”; Act III, Scene 4,
“late in 1801” (though corrected by hand later to “late in 1802”); and Act III,
Scene 5, in “May 1802.” The 1936 production cut out Act III, Scene 1, com-
pletely, and the 1936 programme dated the four remaining scenes of Act III,
respectively, as follows: “March 24th, 1801, about six o’clock in the evening,”
“late 1801,” “late 1801,” and then “May 1802.” The fact that James could specify
that a scene took place at “about six o’clock in the evening” but change the
year from 1802 to 1801 suggests that his main concern was not that the dates
he gave at the start of each scene precisely matched the events of the Hai-
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