French Studies in Southern Africa - Volume 2008, Issue 38, 2008
Volumes & issues
Volume 2008, Issue 38, 2008
Author Jaco AlantSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 1 –17 (2008)More Less
In 1986 Jacques Derrida published an essay "Admiration de Nelson Mandela, ou les lois de la réflexion" as part of the collection Pour Nelson Mandela (For Nelson Mandela), edited by himself and Mustapha Tlili, a work clearly recognizable as littérature engagée. This article sets out to examine the apparent paradox of a "deconstructionist" discourse (generally associated with Derrida), characterized by its refusal to admit a "true" signifier, but which here concerns itself with a signifier generally considered to be as "true" (because he is an icon) as "Nelson Mandela". The article investigates the metonymic play at work in the essay, primarily centered on the metaphors (signifiers) admiration / reflection. It then considers ways in which Derrida integrates the "absolute" signifier of Mandela into history, notably through an occasional personal intervention which to some extent reduces the metaphorical charge, as well as in particular instances of punctuation, thereby indicating certain "limits" of Derrida's engagement "for" Nelson Mandela.
Author Jean-Louis CornilleSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 18 –43 (2008)More Less
Baudelaire has always maintained that there exists a certain parallelism between his collected verses (Les Fleurs du Mal) and his later poetic work in prose, Le Spleen de Paris (also called Petits Poèmes en prose). This parallelism is already apparent in the number of poems assembled in both cases : a hundred in the case of the first edition of Les Fleurs du Mal, fifty in the case of the posthumously published Le Spleen de Paris. Yet, whereas Les Fleurs du Mal is characterized by a closed structure, Baudelaire's specialists have always presented Le Spleen de Paris as an unfinished work with an open structure, basing their conclusions on the esthetics of fragmentation that Baudelaire himself advocates in his preface. By analyzing the very last prose poem, "Les Bons chiens", we will show that, while the prose poems reflect the experience of Les Fleurs du Mal, they also possess a closed structure. Indeed, it would appear that this poem acts as a kind of summary of all the previous poems and signals a conclusion to the book, thus closing it. At the same time, these measures of self-repetition are opened up again by intertextual references to Rousseau, whose Rêveries d'un Promeneur solitaire can be seen as a forerunner of prose poetry.
Author Bernard De MeyerSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 44 –62 (2008)More Less
Calixthe Beyala's first novels - commonly known as the African trilogy - are among her most original ones, as they open new perspectives in African women's writing and anticipate her own career. Her second novel in particular, Tu t'appelleras Tanga, is pivotal in this process, showing the change, in the trilogy, from a first person narrative (as was still the norm in novels written by African women in the 1980's), to a narrative where there is a clear distinction between author and narrator, as is prevalent in her later work. This evolution is part of Beyala's literary project, the aim of which is to make her mark as part of the literary establishment and of the world of publishing. In order to comprehend the specificity of the Cameroonian author's first fictional works, the relationship between language, as a tool to fictionalize the surrounding world, and prostitution, one of the main themes of the novel and also a way to survive in a depressed modern African environment, will be analyzed.
Author Karen Ferreira-MeyersSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 63 –78 (2008)More Less
As a relatively recent notion (the term was coined in the late 1970s), autofiction / faction has not yet been able to establish itself authoritatively. Many authors write autofictional works, some consciously, others without knowing their oeuvre can be labelled as such. An overview of the historical developments and evolutions of the terminology will indicate the need for proper classification as well as the urgency for an adequate working definition, while noting the shifting focus of 21st century literature towards "me/ego-literature" and fiction centered around the "self".
Author Desire Kabwe Wa SegattiSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 79 –94 (2008)More Less
Whether it is about the departures, the extended stays of migrants in the host country, or the triumphant returns home with their attendant grand "performances", different mechanisms contribute to perpetuate the myths surrounding emigration. These enriching processes, both personal and familial, as well as the socio-economic tribulations of the members of the family who have stayed in the home country, create numerous expectations. Migration is often seen by economists as an individual process, when in fact it is a collective one: that of a family, a network, or a diaspora dependant upon different mechanisms linked to trust, money, and power. Paradoxically, one of the mechanisms of transmission and perpetuation of these myths structuring the migratory event relies upon silence. The silence in question here acts as a forceful narrative motor, which needs to be contrasted to the story: the self-telling which holds centre-stage in the migration mythology.
La révolte individuelle face à l'emprise du groupe : la lutte contre courant comme leitmotiv de l'uvre memmienneSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 95 –110 (2008)More Less
Albert Memmi admits he has essentially written the same work throughout his life. This observation can be understood in light of the pool of themes that abound in his romantic writings. The core of most of these reiterative concerns is found in La statue de sel, described as the matrix of Memmian fiction. And yet, permeated as they are by autobiographical references, these reworkings clearly move beyond the purely fictional and acquire more intimate properties. As our study of the main characters in three novels reveals, these characters are not only duplicates of each other but of Albert Memmi as well. As such, they are portrayed as human beings who find themselves constantly engaging in counter-current struggles to save their ideals, spurning any unconditional commitment to idea-binding movements as much as any identification with specific groups. These characters therefore conceive of and / or apprehend identification and full implication with a community as curtailing the fundamental liberty of Man - hence their rebellious attitude, generally misunderstood by their entourage. The important point is that their combative stance emanates from existentialist moral convictions proffered by the author himself.
"La coupe", objet politique et / ou religieux dans Salammbô : entre conflit et alliance de l'incipit à l'explicitAuthor Pierre-Claver MonguiSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 111 –135 (2008)More Less
This article attempts to show how, in Gustave Flaubert's second novel, Salammbô, various political and religious elements intersect in a particular object, the "coupe" (cup). Through its symmetrical, mirror-like distribution in the novel, the object comes to denote the simultaneity of situations and occurrences in both the first and last chapters, symbolically embodying the socio-economic and sentimental aspirations of the two protagonists, Salammbô and Mâtho, from their very first contact during the feast right up to the sacred wedding which, at the end of the narrative, marks their virtually simultaneous deaths. These considerations form the basis of the analyses set out in the article.
Author Elisabeth SnymanSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 136 –158 (2008)More Less
The role of personal memory in Marguerite Yourcenar's Labyrinthe du monde has not yet attracted much attention from scholars, presumably because the author gives relatively little attention to the story of her own life in this autobiographical trilogy. However, an investigation of the function of memory in Quoi? l'Éternité, the last of the three volumes published after the author's death, and the only one to contain a systematic recapitulation of the author's childhood, shows that it has its place in a range of literary techniques upon which Marguerite Yourcenar draws to construct a textual representation of herself. The aim of this article is to analyze, in the wake of Paul Ricur's work on memory and the self, the way in which Marguerite Yourcenar exploits memory as a link between the past and the writerly present in order to establish her own textual identity.
Author Eric LeveelSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2008, pp 159 –164 (2008)More Less
On connaît la passion réelle - oserions-nous dire l'obsession - de Jean-Louis Cornille pour l'intertextualité et pour les signes qui parcourent tout texte littéraire. S'étant déjà penché avec précision sur l'uvre de Céline, de Bataille, d'Apollinaire et de Jarry pour n'en citer que quelques-uns, on découvre un Cornille sartrien, ou tout du moins déambulant en terre sartrienne: un monde délimité par le Bouville roquentien et l'appartement Schweitzer où grandit Poulou, alias Jean-Paul Sartre jeune plagiat à ses heures perdues.