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Title: Mauritian writing in English 1900-2000 : a critical survey
Author: Bhautoo-Dewnarain, Nandini.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is a critical survey of Mauritian literature written in English between 1900 and 2000. It covers the four different genres of the novel, the short story, poetry and drama. It aims to place the writing produced over this span of time within the social, historical and cultural context of production. Throughout, I have used the Structuralist construct that authors can only begin to shape themselves into being as authors within the existing discursive literary structures which exist at a specific point in time. It is argued therefore that the strong imitative bent of most of the writing here studied originates from this structuralist determination of authorial identity. However, the authors show their originality by hybridising these discursive genres with alternative cultural influences, emanating from their specific socio-cultural and temporal location In this context I trace the effect of British Colonial Literary pedagogy, as it was developed for India and implemented in British colonies. This substantially contributed to shape the sense of English Literature for the first generation of writers of the novel and for poets. In addition, writers in Mauritius were functioning within a local context where language use was associated with ethnic appurtenance, thus English was appropriated to counteract the elitist tendencies of French and Francophone culture on the island. Thus caught between the elitism of French and the bias of English pedagogy, Mauritian writers in English have remained fairly fixated in conventional notions of canonical genres. This is applicable for all the three major genres: the novel, poetry and drama. It has to be highlighted though, that in the case of drama the forms which have wielded the greatest influence on the dramatists is European and American drama. But, as in the case of the novel and poetry, these authors still function within the same schema of imitation as they reproduce the genres. Innovation can be traced to the new writing of short story writers who have published in a series of anthologies since 1990. This is the focus of my last chapter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature Literature Mass media Performing arts