Although most critics chart Senegalese literary history from the 1930s and the rise of Negritude, there also exist a small number of texts from the 1850s-1020s that are usually classified as a sort of proto-Senegalese literature. This article focuses on Abbé David Boilat's Esquisses sénégalaises (1853) and Bakary Diallo's Force-bonté (1926), both of which occupy a deeply ambiguous position within the national literary canon because of their open support for French colonialism. The article contends that the status of these texts as key works in the Senegalese national canon rests on a specific vision of their Franco-African "hybridity." By questioning the value and the limitations of the notion of "hybridity" in relation to colonialism and nationalism in Senegal, the article aims to discover whether these texts by Boilat and Diallo might be deemed to signal the birth of a nation or the birth of a colony.


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pp. 48-69
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