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Contemporary Francophone African Writers and the Burden of Commitment

Odile Cazenave and Patricia Célérier
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BUY Paper · 256 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813930961 · $26.50 · Feb 2011
BUY Cloth · 256 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813930954 · $60.00 · Feb 2011
BUY Ebook · 256 pp. · ISBN 9780813931159 · $26.50 · Feb 2011

By looking at engagée literature from the recent past, when the francophone African writer was implicitly seen as imparted with a mission, to the present, when such authors usually aspire to be acknowledged primarily for their work as writers, Contemporary Francophone African Writers and the Burden of Commitment addresses the currrent processes of canonization in contemporary francophone African literature. Odile Cazenave and Patricia Célérier argue that aesthetic as well as political issues are now at the forefront of debates about the African literary canon, as writers and critics increasingly acknowledge the ideology of form. Working across genres but focusing on the novel, the authors take up the question of renewed forms of commitment in this literature. Their selected writers range from Mongo Beti, Ousmane Sembène, and Aminata Sow Fall to Boubacar Boris Diop, Véronique Tadjo, Alain Mabanckou, and Léonora Miano, among others.

Reviews:


Once in a decade, a critical text surfaces that upends our run-of-the-mill reading of literature. Odile Cazenave and Patricia Célérier’s book does just that for African francophone literature. By its breadth and depth, Contemporary Francophone African Writers and the Burden of Commitment not only subsumes previous critical works on the subject, but also provides new grids for exploring the ever-expanding African francophone corpus.

Emmanuel Dongala, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, author of Johnny Mad Dog and Little Boys Come from the Stars

Contemporary Francophone African Writers and the Burden of Commitment by Odile Cazenave and Patricia Célérier delineates the field of contemporary francophone African literature, providing the main outlines of directions taken in the past three decades. The task would seem to be formidable, yet the authors accomplish this extremely well, with insightful interpretations of a very large body of texts, and a timely exploration of the location of political engagement within those works. It will be of considerable usefulness to scholars who simply want to know what is currently being published, which texts they ought to be teaching and reading, and what import to ascribe to those works. More importantly, it provides an understanding of the trajectory of African literature from its early years of struggle for national liberation to its present entanglements in the age of globalization and transnationalism. The work is very up-to-date in its 'synthesis' of the field.

Kenneth W. Harrow, Michigan State University, author of Less Than One and Double: A Feminist Reading of African Women’s Writing

"Providing numerous examples of various literary trends and relying on a large body of work, this well-researched book will serve any reader who wishes to be acquainted with recent representative literary material emanating from Africa."

CHOICE

Providing numerous examples of various literary trends and relying on a large body of work, this well-researched book will serve any reader who wishes to be acquainted with recent representative literary material emanating from Africa. Highly recommended.

CHOICE

"This timely study contributes not only fresh information about contemporary Francophone African Literature (both for the classroom and for building collections), but also a way for scholars to approach these texts aesthetically."

M. Kathleen Madigan, Rockhurst University · French Review

About the Author(s): 

Odile Cazenave is Professor of French at Boston University. Patricia Célérier is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Vassar College.

 
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