This work explores the limits and prospects of Afro-Caribbean Francophone writers in reshaping or producing action-oriented literature. It shows how Francophone literatures have followed a hegemonic discourse that leaves little room for thinking outside of traditional cultural and ideological conventions.
Part One explores the origins of Afro-Caribbean Francophone literature and what the author terms "griotism"--a shared heritage of awareness of biological differences, a sense of the black hero as black messiah and black people as chosen, and the promise of a common racial history.
Part Two discusses the formidable grip of griotism on Fanon, Mudimbe, the champions of Creolity (Bernabe, Chamoiseau, and Confiant), and well-read African women writers (Aminata Sow Fall, and Mariama Ba).
Part Three seeks to subvert the discourse of griotism in order to propose a new autonomy for Francophone African writers.
K. Martial Frindethie —
K. Martial Frindethie is an associate professor of Francophone studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. An award winning author, his research interests include literature and film and the intersection of literature and political-ideological imagination.
Frindéthié, Martial K. The black renaissance in Francophone African and Caribbean literatures. McFarland, 2008. 209p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780786436637 pbk. Outstanding Title! Reviewed in 2008dec CHOICE.
Just when scholarship on the peculiarity of the black aesthetic in the diaspora appears saturated, a fresh interpretative voice arises with an intriguing introspection. Frindéthié (francophone studies, Appalachian State Univ.) posits a provocative, formidable discourse on the multiple structural representations of African and Caribbean literary thought. Employing as model the griot, a figure whose tradition of oral story-telling reveals truth, the author affirms the revelatory nature of the written word--its limits as well as its expansive properties. Parallels of feminine and narrative discourse expose the dichotomous relationships between linguistic expressions that belie narrow or defined understandings of negritude and "Creole-ness." Frindéthié's writing style is powerful, seductive, and convincing. Each chapter stands alone but all coalesce into an exacting thesis. The book is replete with good notes and an excellent bibliography.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. -- A. J. Guillaume Jr., Indiana University South Bend