Francophone Literatures: An Introductory Survey

By Belinda Jack | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

IT is principally within a pedagogical context that the question of how to group cultural productions arises as both an epistemological and ideological problem. Within the field of literature (although the degree to which the different arts can usefully be studied independently from one another is another major question), it is mainly literary historians -- but also critics -- who are bound to propose structures within which a group of texts is then discussed. The degree to which context affects 'meaning' is a much-debated philosophical question, but there can be little doubt that what is foregrounded in a discussion, what is brought to the reader's attention, will be affected by the 'group' into which it has been placed. Senghor's poem Neige sur Paris, collected in an anthology of Senegalese poems, will emerge principally as a poem of exile, whereas as part of an anthology of poetry about Paris it will offer one of many constructions of the city.

While historians and critics play a major part in the business of grouping texts, so too do publishers, producing series and lists which also suggest fields. As an individual reader, of course, there may be few constraints on the selection of texts which might be read (although availability is a significant factor), but as a student of literature a logic is proposed to explain, if not justify, the choice of syllabus. Often, however, little discussion of this logic takes place and there is a sense in which it is proposed as natural, a donné.

Historically it is the national perspective which has most persistently explained the logic of the syllabus, and this approach to literature, at least in Europe, gained a virtual monopoly in the nineteenth century, reaching its zenith at the height of Empire, when the literary traditions of the colonial powers formed the basis of the literary

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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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