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Postcolonial Francophone Autobiographies

From Africa to the Antilles
Edgard Sankara

BUY Paper · 232 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813931722 · $26.50 · Aug 2011
BUY Ebook · 232 pp. · ISBN 9780813931760 · $26.50 · Aug 2011

Bringing a comparative perspective to the study of autobiography, Edgard Sankara considers a cross-section of postcolonial francophone writing from Africa and the Caribbean in order to examine and compare for the first time their transnational reception. Sankara not only compares the ways in which a wide selection of autobiographies were received locally (as well as in France) but also juxtaposes reception by the colonized and the colonizer to show how different meanings were assigned to the works after publication.

Sankara’s geographical and cultural coverage of Africa and its diaspora is rich, with separate chapters devoted to the autobiographies of Hampâté Bâ, Valentin Mudimbé, Kesso Barry, Patrick Chamoiseau, Raphaël Confiant, and Maryse Condé. The author combines close reading, reception study, and postcolonial theory to present an insightful survey of the literary connections among these autobiographers as well as a useful point of departure for further exploration of the genre itself, of the role of reception studies in postcolonial criticism, and of the stance that postcolonial francophone writers choose to take regarding their communities of origin.

Modern Language Initiative


This study is likely to incite much discussion and contribute to further studies on francophone autobiographies nationally or in transnational comparative perspectives. Sankara’s book is exciting to read, and it renews and revitalizes interest in this important literature.

Kandioura Dramé, University of Virginia · author of The Novel as Transformation Myth: A Study of the Novels of Mongo Beti and Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Through an engaging blend of theoretical and literary discourses, [Sankara] provides readers with new ways of thinking through enduring questions about how the genre of autobiography bears upon broader economic, sociopolitical, and cultural concerns.


About the Author(s): 

Edgard Sankara is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Delaware.

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