I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem
, 1992 - Fiction
- 225 pages
Offered here for the first time in English is I, Tituba Black Witch of Salem, by Guadeloupean writer Maryse Conde. This wild and entertaining novel, winner of the 1986 Grand Prix Litteraire de la Femme, expands on the true story of the West Indian slave Tituba, who was accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, arrested in 1692, and forgotten in jail until the general amnesty for witches two years later. Maryse Conde brings Tituba out of historical silence and creates for her a fictional childhood, adolescence, and old age. She turns her into what she calls "a sort of female hero, an epic heroine, like the legendary 'Nanny of the maroons, "' who, schooled in the sorcery and magical ritual of obeah, is arrested for healing members of the family that owns her. Rich with postmodern irony, the novel even includes an encounter with Hester Prawn of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. Conde breaks new ground in both style and content, transcending cultural and epochal boundaries, not only exposing the hypocrisy of Puritan New England but challenging us to look at racism and religious bigotry in contemporary America. This highly readable and ultimately joyful novel celebrates Tituba's unique voice, exploring issues of identity and the implications of Otherness in Western literary tradition. Its multiple layers will delight a wide variety of readers.