French and Italian | STUDIES IN FRANCOPHONE LIT
F667 | 27484 | Julien, Eileen


Topic: The Postcolonial Novel.  In the words of Mikhail Bakhtin, the
novel is the only literary genre (presumably, in the broad sense) to
have arisen “since the book” and is quintessentially modern. There
has been consensus on this point, and it has meant that the new
nations emerging from colonial empires had to “produce novels in
order to certify their distinct and modern nationhood” (Lynch and
Warner, Cultural Institutions of the Novel). This seminar
will consider the importance of the novels from the formerly
colonized spaces, their common denominators of social justice
and “writing back to the center” (Ashcroft, et al.), and how they
have affected our understanding of novels and literature more
broadly from the late twentieth century to the present. We will
reflect on the location of the novelist, the readership of such
novels, and the usefulness of the category “postcolonial,” what it
enables and what it forecloses. We will do readings on the novel as
a genre and on postcolonialism--from Césaire and Fanon, Said and
Jameson to Bhabha and Spivak, McClintock, Moretti, and Cassanova.
Alongside the classics of postcolonialism we will examine other
texts that may disrupt or challenge the category. We will read
novelists representative of varied national and cultural spheres,
such as Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), Miguel Asturias (Guatemala), André
Brink (South Africa), Assia Djebar (Algeria), Nuruddin Farah
(Somalia), Kim Lefevre (Vietnam/France), Toni Morrison (U.S.), Herta
Muller (Roumania), Ngugi wa Thiongo (Kenya), Ben Okri
(Nigeria/Britain), Salman Rushdie (India/Britain), Simone Schwarz-
Bart and Daniel Maximin (Guadeloupe/France).