Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey

By Belinda Jack | Go to book overview

2
SWITZERLAND

'LA Littérature romande existe-t-elle?' Jacques Mercanton denies it: 'une littérature se définit par la langue dans laquelle elle est écrite. Or il n'y a point de langue romande. Ainsi donc le terme littérature romande, même si on en fait emploi assez souvent, n'a aucune signification.'1 Yet as Bertil Gallant argues:

La littérature romande existe, non par des idées ou par un style qui seraient caractéristique de ces écrivains -- décèle-t-on des traits typiques ici ou là on pourra en débattre à l'infini -- mais parce qu'une communauté romande, divisée de surcroît en communautés plus petites, les Cantons, suisse par les murœs et françise de langue, s'est montrée assez vigoureuse, assez unie en ce domaine particulier, pour susciter, indépendamment de Paris, une littérature.2

What is crucial, according to Gallant, is the existence of a community of writers and readers. What matters is:

La durée, l'intensité, la qualité, l'originalité d'une relation entre ceux qui écrivent et ceux qui lisent sur un territoire donné. Entre Genève et Fribourg, entre Porrentruy et Sierre, entre La Chaux-de-Fonds et le Léman, les circonstances, certaines volontés, les écoles en leur diversité, la manière de publier, l'esprit de la critique et le goût de la population ont consolidé au cours des années une vie des lettres qui possède sa propre échelle de valeurs.3

There is little doubt which writers of this century meet the criteria for inclusion within la littérature romande: Ramuz most obviously, Charles-Albert Cingria, Monique Saint-Hélier, Catherine Colomb, Gustave Roud, Corinna Bille.

____________________
1
Quoted by Bertil Galland, La Littérature de la Suisse Romande expliquée en un quart d'heure ( Geneva, 1986), 11.

-41-

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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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