Singular Performances: Reinscribing the Subject in Francophone African Writing

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University of Virginia Press, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 215 pages
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Francophone African writing is often concerned with questions of subjectivity and narrative agency, and it is this focus Michael Syrotinski takes as his point of departure in Singular Performances. Using the work of V. Y. Mudimbe as a major theoretical reference, Syrotinski sets up a number of original dialogues between francophone African literature, African philosophy, literary theory, postcolonial studies, cinema, cultural studies, and history to arrive at the notion of a "performative reinscription of subjectivity."

Singular Performances covers a wide range of francophone African writers, each of whom is read within a broader theoretical context related to African subjectivity: Mudimbe and the philosophical subject, Aoua K ita and autobiography, Bernard Dadi and ethnographic irony, Ousmane Sembene and Tierno Mon nembo and the cinematic imagination, V ronique Tadjo and Werewere Liking and the female writing subject, and Sony Labou Tansi and the "spectral" subject.

In this skillful interdisciplinary weaving together of contemporary theory and literature, the focus on the francophone African subject allows for a richer appreciation of the texture and rhetoric of the language of the texts themselves. What emerges from this study is the subject understood not as a single homogenized entity but as a plural celebration of singular francophone African subjectivities.

 

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Contents

the Subject
11
The Autobiographical Subject as HistoryTeller
42
The Ironic Subject in Bernard Dadies Travel Writing
66
Ousmane
100
Mudimbes Le
122
Veronique Tadjo
139
Sony Labou Tansis Spectrographic Subject
157
Reprising Francophone African Subjectivity
177
Notes
183
Bibliography
197
Index
209
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About the author (2002)

Michael Syrotinski, Reader in French and Francophone Studies at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, is the author of Defying Gravity: Jean Paulhan’s Interventions in Twentieth-Century French Intellectual History and coeditor of Sensual Reading: New Approaches to Reading in Its Relations to the Senses.

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