Le Roman Ivoirien au Féminin: Une Ecriture Plurielle

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2006-08-08

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Although they emerged in the late seventies, like their peers from other Francophone West African's countries, Ivorian women writers are not well known on the literary scene with the exception of Véronique Tadjo, Tanella Boni, Régina Yaou. This situation, however, does not prevent literary critics from analyzing their works under the same prism as the fictional works published by African women writers at large. Despite the relative paucity of essays or articles which try to examine literature produced by Ivorian women from a different perspective, critics show little or no distinction between texts produced by African women whether Anglophone of Francophone. African women authors' works are usually viewed as a counter-discourse to the male discourse, a vehicle to unveil their oppression/frustration, or an articulation of their rebellion against phallocentric societal practices. This dissertation examines the various ways in which certain fictional works by Ivorian women writers transcend issues solely relevant to women's status and fate in modern or traditional Africa. The texts used for this study are the following: Tanella Boni's Une vie de crabe (1994), Véronique Tadjo's Le royaume aveugle (1984), Régina Yaou's Ehui Anka ou le défi aux sorciers (1988) and Flore Azoumé's Le crépuscule de l'homme (2003). The study is divided between two main parts consisting of three chapters each: In the first chapter of part I, a summary is given of the state of literary critique produced to date on the writing of Ivorian woman writers. In the second chapter, the historical context surrounding the emergence of literature by Ivorian women is presented. An overview is then given of the Postcolonial theory through a description of its fundamental concepts. In part II, the four novels selected for this study are thematically analyzed. In the first chapter of the second part, there is an analysis of the formalistic innovations put forward by the writers to create unconventional and multi-layered fictional texts. The second chapter examines the ways these writers denounce government corruption, dictatorship, social inequalities or neo-colonialism and the impact these entities have on the lives of the peoples in modern contemporary Africa. The last chapter aims at revealing a certain rupture or an ambiguous undercurrent in these novels vis-à-vis feminist discourse (whether this discourse is associated with Western feminism or that of the Third-World). The study concludes by arguing that Ivorian women writers are fully-fledged individuals who are an integral part of their society. As such they are as concerned as their male counterparts about the post-colonial African society's political, economical or linguistic future.

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