My first book: a study of a century of French and English-language Louisiana literature, an examination of a circle of Creole writers and their city, an analysis of race and the power of language, an inquiry into the rise of local myth-making.
“Fertel uses rare publications and archival collections to present a taut, deeply researched, and gracefully written study. His book is foundational for understanding New Orleans’s history and the birth of Louisiana literature.” — Journal of American History
"With an informative notes section that highlights important bodies of work, and a comprehensive bibliography that testifies to the scale of his research, Fertel consolidates the information most relevant to his thesis within each chapter. . . . An important intervention in studies of Creole literary history, giving, for the first time, serious critical treatment of the white Creole print culture that contributed both to Creole identity formation and to ideologies of race and identity in the larger United States." — Journal of American Studies
“A delightful deconstruction of the self-image of the ‘white’ Creoles of New Orleans and their mythological city.” — Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, author of Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links
“Rien Fertel has given us a history of nineteenth-century Creole literary culture or more precisely, a nuanced portrait of the Creole City imagined—in French and English—by Louisiana's most celebrated nineteenth-century authors. Fertel not only reconnects us to the work of these important writers, but reminds us that this work can and should be read and considered by anyone interested in American Romanticism and Transcendentalism, the ideology of the Lost Cause, and post–Civil War reconciliation. Fertel provides a critical assessment of an invented tradition that incorporated a kind of self-imposed exile, a barrier of exceptionalism against the dangers of cultural and racial hybridity. A landmark study.” — Jay Gitlin, author of The Bourgeois Frontier: French Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion
“In Imagining the Creole City, Rien Fertel hashes through the stakes involved in defining and defending a Creole whiteness in the face of rapidly Americanizing nineteenth-century New Orleans. . . . By showing how the Creole campaign for New Orleans exceptionalism could also be a case for American belonging, Fertel demonstrates how a commitment to white supremacy came, for these elite white Creoles, to trump interracial cultural affinities. He deftly uncovers a ‘Lost Creole Cause,’ tracking very closely alongside a ‘Lost Confederate Cause.’” — Shirley E. Thompson, author of Exiles at Home: The Struggle to Become American in Creole New Orleans
Some early press:
Out Now from LSU Press.