n French Studies in Southern Africa - Écrire, lire, penser et vivre à partir du continent. Le « phénomène Isaïe Biton » en Côte d'Ivoire ou les dernières lignes d'un champ littéraire national

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-0247


This study, "socio-institutional" in nature, assesses the conditions of the emergence of a quite unusual category of "literary texts" on the literary market of Côte d'Ivoire. The Ivorian Isaie Biton Coulibaly, a bestselling author with a mass readership, has been regarded as the flag bearer of popular literature for two decades now. As a matter of fact, a large number of publications fall into the mass consumption category: (fantastic stories, paperback romances, light and popular narratives, social myths. These texts are however reduced to the status of "paraliterature" by the literary institution. The subject of this study is to consider the possible literary and sociological stakes inherent in this trend. The article addresses, among other things, questions concerning popular literature vs elitist literature, literature vs counter literature and paraliterature in a national context. Hypotheses will be advanced with regard to the admissibility of an Ivorian literary field and the sociography of the actors who write, read, think and live on the African continent. Do such developments indicate the participation of an "Africa of the lower classes" in the world Republic of Letters?

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