Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey

By Belinda Jack | Go to book overview

1
BELGIUM

BELGIUM is as artificial a country as any, made up of three distinct areas. Two of the three, Wallonia and Flanders, were united in 1830, with Brussels as the capital. In 1920 the German-speaking cantons in the east were also added. A monarchy, a parliament, and a constitution were adopted. Most areas of Belgium are at least bilingual. In the north, Flemish and Dutch are spoken; in the east, French and German. In Brussels all three languages are spoken and a dialect -- in which a written literature also exists -- la brusselaire. The practical difficulties of Belgian multilingualism have allowed for the increasing use of English, particularly in international organizations and businesses.

The relatively recent date of the country's birth, the complexities and artificiality of its being, the multiplicities of multilingualism, no doubt account at least in part for a certain lack of confidence and an attitude of profound intellectual and political scepticism. Belgian writers tend to look beyond their own country both for a literary tradition into which to be grafted and for an audience; or their identity tends to be defined not in terms of their status as Belgians, but rather in their opposition and refusal of French assimilation. In either case, however, most francophone writers publish in Paris as there are few major literary publishing houses in Belgium and a Parisian readership is often more readily accessible than an audience at home; most Flemish writers, correspondingly, are published in Amsterdam.

Many francophone Belgian writers are not concerned to belong to a Belgian tradition but this does not, of course, mean that their writing will necessarily be straightforwardly French. To deny the Belgian dimension of the writings of Michaux, Norge, Beck,

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Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgements *
  • Contents *
  • PART I - Europe and North America 23
  • 1 - Belgium 25
  • 2 - Switzerland 41
  • 3 - Quebec and French Canada 57
  • Guide to Further Reading 96
  • PART II - Creole Island 101
  • 4 - Antilles and Frenxh Guiana 103
  • 5 - Haiti 130
  • 6 - Mauritius 144
  • 7 - La Réunion 152
  • Guide to Further Reading 156
  • PART III - North Africa and the Near East 161
  • 8 - Algeria 165
  • 9 - Morocco 185
  • 10 - Tunisia 196
  • 11 - Egypt 207
  • 12 - Lebanon 209
  • Guide to Further Reading 212
  • PART IV - Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar 217
  • 13 - Sub-Saharan Africa 219
  • 14 - Madagascar 267
  • Guide to Further Reading 274
  • Conclusion 277
  • Select Bibliography 282
  • Index 283
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