French Studies in Southern Africa - Volume 2011, Issue 41, 2011
Volumes & issues
Volume 2011, Issue 41, 2011
Source: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 1 –22 (2011)More Less
It is possible to read Jacques Derrida's essay, Le monolinguisme de l'autre (Monolingualism of the Other), as the ultimate refutation of what has been called linguistic nationalism: identity founded on one's sense of belonging to a language (for example French), or, perhaps more accurately, on the sense that a language belongs to one. The erasure represented by this Derridian disavowal of linguistic nationalism for that most famous of derivatives of français (in a linguistic sense), namely francophonie, is patently obvious. The latter, not least through the institutionalization it represents, appeals only too clearly to the idea that it is something to be identified with, an identity which is simultaneously identification with a language, identification through a language. And yet, Le monolinguisme de l'autre, although it derives itself from a conference having as its stated concern "the problems of francophonie outside of France", contains not a single mention of the derivative (francophonie) in question. Does this mean that Derrida, who also declares himself "attached" to French, can be said to somehow fall outside its embrace? This study argues that the "monolanguage" set out by Derrida is, in fact, nothing but the site of his own attachment to French - an attachment which, mediated by writing, is absolute - and which, notwithstanding the absence of the derivative, can be read as being remarkably reconcilable with the notion of francophonie at various levels of conception.
Author Astrid BerrierSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 23 –42 (2011)More Less
Could some of the concepts in intercultural studies (and in French as a foreign language, FFL) and postcolonial studies be examined with the same tools? Could postcolonial studies shed a new light and give the other fields a critical posture on discourses through a posture they already use in literature? Postcolonial studies propose an analysis of domination (both intellectual/epistemic and discursive) and address the question of decentring the subject which "allows for a social reading of language and representations" (Loomba 1998: 42). The fifteen (or more) definitions offered by Loomba will guide us in the present article. The first part will be devoted to a recentering of the Other in intercultural studies; the second part will examine the definitions proposed for postcolonial studies and their limitations. The final part will give two examples of didactic discourses analyzed through a postcolonial lens in order to give new perspectives on the question of immigration, citizenship and the Other, as well as on the concept of contextualisation widely used in Europe.
Author Claude CavalleroSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 43 –59 (2011)More Less
The protean works of Michel Butor and JMG Le Clézio raise the issue of aesthetic experience in the context of the postmodern crisis of representation. If both writers set about exploring the tectonics of the novel in the early stages of their careers, each in his own style, there are wide differences in the way they effected this new drift of the genre, often referred to as fragmentation. While extolling the major novelists of the past, Butor opted for poetry and transtextual writing whereas Le Clézio revisited narrative standards while singing the praises of emblematic figures of modern lyricism such as Lautréamont, Michaux and Artaud. Yet their specific approaches are far from being antithetical as in fact they both subvert the century-old dichotomy between narrative and poetry. As a result of their being widely open to otherness, the favourite narrative form of both writers is the space narrative which highlights the endless variety of cultures. In this respect Butor and Le Clézio prove to be the forerunners of a major trend in contemporary literature.
Author Bernard De MeyerSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 60 –79 (2011)More Less
Le Roi de Kahel (The King of Kahel), the ninth novel by the Guinean author Tierno Monénembo, published in 2008, deals with the French explorer Olivier de Sanderval, who carved for himself a kingdom in Pullo territory in the late XIXth Century. Three discourses are combined, from the obvious to the insidious. Written with the encouragement of the explorer's descendants, whose desire was to rehabilitate the discredited figure of Sanderval, the novel seems to fit well in the Parisian literary establishment, where it obtained one of the major literary awards in 2008. The novel is also an indirect reflection on the socio-political context in which it was written, marked by the "colonial fracture". Finally, postcoloniality as critical discourse is embedded in the novel. In this context, the article aims to first investigate the real value of the Renaudot prize awarded to a novel describing the early colonial experience. It will then briefly analyze some paratextual elements which place the novel between reality and fiction. The concepts of "territorialization" (Deleuze & Guattari) and "dialogism" (Bakhtin) will allow us to read Le Roi de Kahel as a postcolonial rewriting of an existing colonial text.
Author Catherine Du ToitSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 80 –100 (2011)More Less
Henri-Pierre Roché's life as well as his work is characterized by a certain movement which seems to be contradictory at first glance: a dissipatory movement that manifests itself through a curiosity of all and everyone, long journeys and parallel loves - ephemeral or lasting - is accompanied by a strong desire to distil a unique, essential and authentic wisdom from this apparent disarticulation. It is a process of concentration and distillation that is as valid for the contents of his writing as for its form, the essential characteristic of which is its concision. The quest for purity of expression most probably has its origins in the 1903 meeting between Roché and the Austrian author Peter Altenberg. Roché found himself at a sensitive and impressionable stage of his writing career when this influential Viennese thinker instilled in him a philosophy of brevity and restraint. Fifty years later, the elliptical and terse style of Jules et Jim, would reveal the lasting impressions of the Viennese experience. Among Henri-Pierre Roché's numerous travels, his journey to Germany and Austria in 1903 would be decisive for his evolution as a writer. The article reconstitutes the principal stages and meetings of this journey in order to trace their influence in Roché's literary career.
Author Emmanuel FraisseSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 101 –117 (2011)More Less
Nowadays, the Nobel Prize in Literature is the only worldwide literary award and it acts as an interesting measure instrument of the extension, borders and values of Literature. The century long story of the Prize is linked with an expansive conception of literature, more engaged and more remote from the Mainstream. Less europeocentric and less male than yesterday, the Nobel Prize still gives the priority to the great traditional European languages, and the question of the recognition left to the rest of the World is still pending. However, in connection with the spread of Globalization, we can observe during the 20 past years the growing importance of women, of writers from the "South" and an increasing affirmation of cultural hybridism.
Author Amelia LemosSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 118 –141 (2011)More Less
The linguistic influence of neighboring countries of Mozambique, the diversities of Mozambican languages and the presence of an official language - Portuguese - constitute a rich and pertinent area of research, at a time when our effective consciousness of the linguistic and cultural diversity confronts us with a class intervention context in which we face problems that are inherent to the coexistence of various languages and cultures. In the framework of teaching languages in general and French as a Foreign Language (FFL) in particular, the question of language appears problematic, as this diversity seems to be ignored by the Mozambican education system, which tends to put all children on an equal footing, without considering the linguistic situation of each one of them. Therefore, we put forward the following matters: which identity(ies) and which culture(s) should be privileged at school? Should we talk about a Mozambican identity or culture?
Source: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 142 –163 (2011)More Less
How "postcolonial" is the contemporary francophone novel? How successful is it in its endeavour to free itself from the burden of the past by distancing itself from French literature? If Alain Mabanckou's 2005 novel, Verre Cassé, managed to encounter such a success, it is perhaps in part because of its hidden imitations of French canonic literature. This mimetic writing was already at work in a previous novel, African Psycho (2003), which depicts the efforts made by a small criminal to emulate his glorious model, the famous murderer Angoualima: it is in fact Mabanckou himself trying to emulate some famous French writers. But is this literary parasitism a joyous subversion of existing codes or merely a clever marketing ploy?
Author Marie-Anne StaeblerSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 164 –186 (2011)More Less
In Ali le Magnifique Paul Smaïl (pseudonym of Daniel Théron) retraces the life of a serial killer and the intrinsic logic of his madness. Ali, a gifted adolescent, is confronted with his incapacity to assert himself and refuses the simplistic label of young Beur of the quartiers that his peers and society in general try to attach to him. Being unable to identify with the values of his community, he chooses to withdraw into himself, and, in this autarkic way, satisfy his need for recognition. His mental retreat into the imaginary, as defence mechanism, is expressed by the conception of grandiose personalities that drive him to acquire high-class objects as a sign of success. Virility and excessive consumerism become the manifestation of his alienation. His mental isolation and the sublimation of things in order to affirm his superiority exacerbate his frustration and his anger at his desperate situation. At the same time, Ali searches for signs of his existence in different kinds of amorous relationships, all of which are linked by their narcissistic quality. The failure of these relationships and the unrealistic personalities he constructed push him towards a mental abstruseness where anger is expressed by physical violence against women. Ironically, it is only once Ali is banished completely from society as a result of his crimes that he reconciles himself with the world and, like Narcissus, finds peace and original completeness in his state of non-existence.
Author Stephen GraySource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 189 –205 (2011)More Less
When I arrived to live in France in 1964 there was a popular American film called The French Connection. It featured Steve McQueen, chasing the local drug-dealers down the Canebière, with spectacular overhead shots of the Vieux-Port of Marseilles. Thanks to such action thrillers I was for ever to be called - not the correct "Monsieur le Prof", or even my own "Stephen" (Stèphane or Etienne would have been acceptable as alternatives), but plain "Stiv" after the boyishly amiable movie star.
Source: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 209 –212 (2011)More Less
Qui ne se souvient avec émotion d'Eugène Ionesco? De l'écrivain, mais aussi du personnage un rien provocateur qu'il incarnait, avec sa figure de clown un peu triste : avec lui, nous ne quittions jamais le théâtre complètement. Ni tout à fait la mystification, non plus : décédé en 1994, n'avait-il pas laissé croire jusqu'à la fin qu'il était né en 1912? Pourtant c'est bien en 2009 qu'on célébra le centenaire de sa naissance : à cette occasion s'est tenu au château de Cerisy-la-Salle, endroit des plus propices au retour des spectres (aux tournois de ping-pong aussi, auxquels ne manquerait pas d'être convié le confrère Adamov), un colloque dont voici les Actes. Monument funèbre à tombeau ouvert, ce recueil évite l'écueil majeur que présente ce genre de rencontre : celui de l'encensement ; aucun moment l'on ne verse dans l'hagiographie. Le mort est bien vif.
Passes et impasses dans le comparatisme postcolonial caribéen (Cinq traverses), Kathleen Gyssels : comptes rendusSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 212 –216 (2011)More Less
Tout concourt à faire de ce livre un pavé jeté dans la mare : son volume d'abord (il fait plus de 400 pages) ; le sujet dont il traite, la façon dont il en parle ; enfin, la situation géographique qu'il prend pour cible : cette mare (tout sauf nostrum) est en effet l'Atlantique noire que parsèment les îles caribéennes, elles-mêmes traversées par un rhizome linguistique multiforme où l'on s'exprime en un espagnol, en un anglais, en un néerlandais ou en un français toujours métissés et créolisés à des degrés divers d'intensité. Qu'ont-ils donc en commun, ces fragments d'archipel, lorsque s'en empare l'irrépressible besoin de fiction? Ces littératures, en dépit de leurs manifestes transnationaux, sont trop rarement mises en rapport.
Présence africaine en Europe et au-delà / African Presence in Europe and beyond, Kathleen Gyssels & Bénédicte Ledent : comptes rendusSource: French Studies in Southern Africa 2011, pp 216 –222 (2011)More Less
Il n'est pas facile de formuler un point de vue sur un livre qui prétend franchement à tout, d'autant plus que telle prétention s'inscrit dans un désir - un projet - auquel on n'a depuis fort longtemps strictement rien à redire : libérer l'Afrique et les Africains. Aussi ce livre cherche-t-il, selon l'Introduction de Gyssels et Ledent, à « mesurer l'énorme travail déjà accompli en matière de décolonisation tant physique que psychique », afin de contribuer à ce que « le continent [africain] bénéficie d'un regard attentif qui en finisse avec l'afro-pessismisme et les discours néo-colonialistes » (13). Une arme de taille dans cette quête, et qui se signale dans le titre : le bilinguisme français / anglais (sept contributions dans le premier, dix dans le second). Chose qui, à vrai dire, n'est plus tellement inconnue de nos jours, et dans laquelle les éditeurs apprécient un mérite tant méthodologique - « une réaction à la tendance qu'ont les africanistes, et les chercheurs en sciences humaines en général, à rester solidement séparés par les barrières linguistiques » (13) - que plus proprement politique : initiative qui, faute de « travaux en portugais ou en allemand, sans parler des multiples langues vernaculaires locales [...] peut contribuer à désenclaver une Afrique disloquée » (13-14). Dislocation linguistique et culturelle, à vaincre.