From Francophonie to World Literature in French
Ethics, Poetics, and Politics
Publication Year: 2013
In 2007 the French newspaper Le Monde published a manifesto titled “Toward a ‘World Literature’ in French,” signed by forty-four writers, many from France’s former colonies. Proclaiming that the francophone label encompassed people who had little in common besides the fact that they all spoke French, the manifesto’s proponents, the so-called francophone writers themselves, sought to energize a battle cry against the discriminatory effects and prescriptive claims of francophonie.
In one of the first books to study the movement away from the term “francophone” to “world literature in French,” Thérèse Migraine-George engages a literary analysis of contemporary works in exploring the tensions and theoretical debates surrounding world literature in French. She focuses on works by a diverse group of contemporary French-speaking writers who straddle continents—Nina Bouraoui, Hélène Cixous, Maryse Condé, Marie NDiaye, Tierno Monénembo, and Lyonel Trouillot. What these writers have in common beyond their use of French is their resistance to the centralizing power of a language, their rejection of exclusive definitions, and their claim for creative autonomy.
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
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I would like to thank the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund and Research Center at the University of Cincinnati for the various grants and fellowships that allowed me to complete this project. At the University of Nebraska Press I am grateful to Kristen Elias Rowley and Joeth Zucco for their commitment to my book project and consis-...
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This book looks at how contemporary French-speaking writers’ call to replace the designation “Francophone literature” by “littérature-monde en français” (world literature in French) points to French and Francophone literary studies as a site of renewed transnational de-bates on issues of identity, ethics, and aesthetic universality. In 2007 ...
1. Writing as Mimicry
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Living in exile since 1969, Guinean-born writer Tierno Monénembo defines himself as “a runaway writer,” a writer first and foremost whose primary task is to explore and interrogate “the extraordinary complex-ity of life” (Cévaër 1993, 111, 166). In a 1987 interview Monénembo says that the Guinean youth who grew up in a country controlled by ...
2. Writing as Desire
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Nina Bouraoui’s Tomboy and Hélène Cixous’s Reveries of the Wild Woman: Primal Scenes are autobiographical narratives that recount the authors’/narrators’ complex emotional relationship with Algeria. Born in France to an Algerian father and a French mother, Bouraoui spent most of her childhood in Algeria. Born in Algeria to a French ...
3. Writing as Otherness
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The laureate of the 2009 Goncourt Prize for her novel Trois femmes puissantes, Marie NDiaye was widely hailed by the international media as the first black woman to receive the most prestigious French literary award. Although she is the daughter of a white French mother and a black Senegalese father, she has consistently refused to be labeled ...
4. Writing as Explosion
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Writing and artistic creation in general constitute central thematic foci in Maryse Condé’s work. In many of her texts—Tree of Life, The Last of the African Kings, Crossing the Mangrove, La belle Créole, and The Story of the Cannibal Woman, among others—her protagonists reflect on their status as writers or artists in the context of various sociocultural ...
5. Writing as Remembering
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A poet, novelist, critic, journalist, and professor of literature, Lyonel Trouillot has published in both French and Creole and lives in his native city of Port-au-Prince, where his activism against political op-pression contributed to the departure of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.¹ One of the signatories of the manifesto “Toward a ‘World Literature’ in ...
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By undermining any categorical opposition between a “high,” nor-mative literature from the French center and an eccentric or, at best, ethnographic literature from the Francophone periphery, littérature-monde is fundamentally meant to reevaluate the relation between literature and the world, both the function of literature in the world ...
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Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2013