Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey

By Belinda Jack | Go to book overview

14
MADAGASCAR

The sections devoted to Malagasy poetry in French in the two anthologies which were first to attract attention to Black francophone writing ( Lèon-Gontran Damas's seminal Poètes d'expression française, 1947, and Léopold Sédar Senghor's influential Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française, 1948, introduced by Sartre's famous essay ' Orphée noir'), are both of a length comparable to the sections devoted to the whole of Black Africa. The year Damas's anthology was published was the year in which tensions on the island came to a head. Between 10,000 and 80,000 people (depending on the source) were killed in the anti-colonial uprising of 1947. The island's three best-known poets, Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, Jacques Rabemananjara (impris-- oned for alleged involvement in the uprising), and Flavien Ranaivo, were writing during a period of turmoil and one in which the discovery and defence of Malagasy culture was part of a growing nationalism. All were concerned with Malagasy literary traditions and Rabemananjara's poetry became increasingly militant. For the editors of the anthologies mentioned above, Malagasy literature in French was pioneering. As is obvious from the length of the section devoted to Madagascar here, Malagasy literature in French has become increasingly marginal since the intense programmes of malgachisation which followed Independence.

The vast island of Madagascar (with a land mass of nearly 600,000 sq. km. and 5,000 km. of coast), lies to the east of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The present population is approximately 10 million. Europeans first arrived in the sixteenth century but until the eighteenth it was used as nothing more than a staging-post on the route to India. During this period the island was divided into a

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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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