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Title: Frankétienne : towards an aesthetic of rewriting
Author: Douglas, Rachel
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis examines the Haitian writer Frankétienne’s practice of rewriting his own texts. It argues that rewriting shapes his oeuvre, providing him with the opportunity to mirror the characteristic openness and mobility of his principal literary aesthetic, the Spiral. Rewriting also enables him to bring out certain themes more clearly, such as zombification, deciphering, and cannibalism. These aesthetic and thematic aspects are, the thesis concludes, the most important functions at work in Frankétienne’s rewriting. I compare a corpus of Frankétienne’s texts with their rewritten versions, ranging from his earliest rewriting, Les Affres d’un défi (1979), through Mûr à crever (1995), Ultravocal (1995), up to Les Métamorphoses de l’oiseau schizophone (1996-7) and Dezafi (2002). The first chapter outlines the main hyperbolizing tendencies in Frankétienne’s rewriting of his Creole text Dézafi (1975) in Les Affres d’un défi (1979) and Dezafi (2002), arguing that Les Affres d’un défi can be seen as Frankétienne’s first rewriting, and not just as a French translation of Dézafi. In chapter two, I demonstrate that Frankétienne renews his first literary texts Mûr à crever (1968) and Ultravocal (1972) after a period of some thirty years by updating their initial presentation of Spiralism to reflect later developments in his aesthetic ideas, and through the addition of new and stronger allusions to recent events in Haiti. Based on Frankétienne’s most major rewriting to date – Les Métamorphoses de l’oiseau schizophone (1996-7) – chapters three and four show how Frankétienne’s thematic and aesthetic concerns become far more pronounced as his practice of rewriting evolves. When Frankétienne rewrites, I have found that he does so mainly by accretion, integrating additions of various lengths throughout his texts. My study shows that aesthetic concerns become more pronounced through added references to the open and mobile Spiral form, and to the aesthetic processes which constitute the rewriting itself. Four such processes are detected: hyperbolization, deciphering/clarification, recapitulation, and cannibalization. Clearer political references are often added, in particular to the dictatorship of François Duvalier, as well as to recent politically significant events in Haiti.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available