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Ethics, Poetics, and Politics
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.
A Negotiation of Ideas about Home in Malawian Poetry
This book is about home. With Malawi as its focus, it seeks to understand ideas about home as expressed through poetry written by Malawians in English. Although African Literatures are studied those of Malawi have not received agreeable attention. This book surveys poetry by five Malawian writers ñ Felix Mnthali, Frank Chipasula, Jack Mapanje, Lupenga Mphande, and Steve Chimombo. The discussion negotiates scribed experience of exile, engendered by Dr. Bandaís regime, and shows that the selected poets effectively converse with a sense of home, reflecting on its transformations in their work. Interrogating the strict definitions of home, the argument highlights that far from home-less exiles in fact clarify the sense of what ëhomeí is. The manoeuvre is one of thinking towards an unboundaried ëhomeí. This book will be of value not only to readers interested in the cultures of Africa but to all those with an interest in worldwide literary phenomena, and ideas therein of home and exile.
Marriage and the African Woman in Eighteenth-Century British Literature, 1759-1808
As the eighteenth century is entirely bereft of narratives written by African women, one might assume that these women had little to no impact on British literature and the national psyche of the period. Yet these kinds of assumptions are belied by the influence of one prominent African woman featured in the period’s literary texts. Imoinda’s Shade examines the ways in which British writers utilize the most popular African female figure in eighteenth-century fiction and drama to foreground the African woman’s concerns and interests as well as those of a British nation grappling with the problems of slavery and abolition. Imoinda, the fictional phenomenon initially conceived by Aphra Behn and subsequently popularized by Thomas Southerne, has an influence that extends well beyond the Oroonoko novella and drama that established her as a formidable presence during the late Restoration period. This influence is palpably discerned in the characterizations of African women drawn up in novels and dramas written by late-eighteenth-century British writers. Through its examinations of the textual instances from 1759–1808 when Imoinda and her involvement in the Oroonoko marriage plot are being transformed and embellished for politicized ends, Imoinda’s Shade demonstrates how this period’s fictional African women were deliberately constructed by progressive eighteenth-century writers to popularize issues of rape, gynecological rebellion, and miscegenation. Moreover, it shows how these specific African female concerns influence British antislavery, abolitionist, and post-slavery discourse in heretofore unheralded, unusual, and sometimes radical ways.
The Dissemination of Cameroon Anglophone Literature
This is a foundational text on the production and dissemination of Anglophone Cameroon literature. The Republic of Cameroon is a bilingual country with English and French as the official languages. Ashuntantang shows that the pattern of production and dissemination of Anglophone Cameroon literature is not only framed by the minority status of English and English-speaking Cameroonians within the Republic of Cameroon, but is also a reflection of a postcolonial reality in Africa where mostly African literary texts published by western multi-national corporations are assured wide international accessibility and readership. This book establishes that in spite of these setbacks, Anglophone Cameroon writers have produced a corpus of work that has enriched the genres of prose, poetry and drama, and that these texts deserve a wider readership.
It is more than forty seven years ago that the Federation of black African students in France (FEANF) organised its first seminar in Paris on the relationship between black African literature and politics. The significance of the event came from the fact that literature served as a vehicle for unmasking traitors in Africa. This was also an opportunity for African students to define the role of literature in political struggles and to appreciate correctly and objectively the commitments of African writers in French. At no time was it a question of over emphasising the importance of this type of work in relation to the immense political challenges in the liberation struggle of African countries. Despite their ideological, religious and philosophical differences, African intellectuals were all committed to African independence and unity, and the need for a critical appraisal of the contribution of African literature in this regard. Participants at this seminar accomplished this task in serenity and with much lucidity. The young generation of pupils and students have the right to know the opinions of their elders who took part, in various degrees and for various reasons, in the struggles for independence on the African continent.
Ousmane SembËne started writing by 1952. The Black Docker, his first novel inspired by the Marseille experience was published in 1956 by Debresse. In 1957, Amiot Dumont published O Pays, mon beau Peuple, a caustic critic of the colonial plight. This second inaugural piece, clearly autobiographical and sentimental is followed up by a vast knowledge of the strike of the Dakar-Niger railway workers: Godís Bits of Wood published in 1960 by Livre Contemporain. In 1961, PrÈsence Africaine pulished his collection of short stories, VoltaÔque, in 1964 the first volume of líHarmattan which is a replay of the 28th September 1958 referendum in black Africa and in 1966 Vehi-Ciosane followed by The Money Order. To this date with six published novels and a renown Cinematographer, Ousmane SembËne with the help of his sharp pen and his critical and observant look decides to examine the fate that the new bourgeoisie and the administrative bureaucracy mete on the downtrodden of this ignominious beauty, Dakar, the Capital of an African nation in the wake of independence. Thanks to a money order that Ibrahima Dieng wants to cash, the film maker/writer takes this character through the urban administrative labyrinth, through neighbourly disputes and through family life in the neighbourhood, highlighting and pointing in passing the crossings, abuses, vices and vicissitudes which make up this segment of life, in every aspect, exemplary. The story unfolds with the arrival of a postman carrying a letter and a problematic money order; it ends on the image of the postman handing a letter to Dieng, when a woman carrying a baby on her back comes in and interrupts them to expose the origins of her misfortunes, asking for help.
Globalization and the Emergence of Asian and African Literature in Spanish
The Magellan Fallacy argues that literature in Spanish from Asia and Africa, though virtually unknown, reimagines the supposed centers and peripheries of the modern world in fundamental ways. Through archival research and comparative readings, The Magellan Fallacy rethinks mainstream mappings of diverse cultures while advocating the creation of a new field of scholarship: global literature in Spanish. As the first attempt to analyze Asian and African literature in Spanish together, and doing so while ranging over all continents, The Magellan Fallacy crosses geopolitical and cultural borders without end. The implications of the book, therefore, extend far beyond the lands formerly ruled by the Spanish empire. The Magellan Fallacy shows that all theories of globalization, including those focused on the Americas and Europe, must be able to account for the varied significances of hispanophone Asia and Africa as well.
Gender studies in Zimbabwe have tended to focus on women and their comparative disadvantages and under-privilege. Assuming a broader perspective is necessary at a time when society has grown used to arguments rooted in binaries: colonised and coloniser, race and class, sex and gender, poverty and wealth, patriotism and terrorism, etc. The editors of Manning the Nation recognise that concepts of manhood can be used to repress or liberate, and will depend on historical and political imperatives; they seek to introduce a more nuanced perspective to the interconnectivity of patriarchy, masculinity, the nation, and its image. The essays in this volume come from well-respected academics working in a variety of fields. The ideals and concepts of manhood are examined as they are reflected in important Zimbabwean literary texts. However, if literature provides a rich vein for the analysis of masculinities, what makes this collection so interesting is the interplay of literary analysis with chapters that provide a critical examination of the ways in which ideals of manhood have been employed in, for example, leadership and the nation, as a justification for violent engagement, in the field of AIDS and HIV, etc. Manning the Nation: Father figures in Zimbabwean literature and society sets the stage for a fresh and engaging discourse essential at a time when new paradigms are needed.