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Title: Ambiguous identifications : identity, reception and literature in the work of Maryse Condé
Author: Sansavior, Eva
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 0120
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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Maryse Conde is a female Guadeloupean writer whose reputation as an ‘important writer’ has largely been consolidated in the United States where the author has been awarded a number of literary prizes and held teaching positions at various prominent American universities. It is therefore commonplace for the author's work to be read in terms of critical paradigms that name her identity as ‘black’, ‘female’ and/or ‘Francophone Caribbean’. If Conde has, at has various times, used these same labels to identify herself and her work, she has also raised questions about the assumptions that underpin the use of these labels and their implications for the role of literature and the writer. Indeed, two distinctive and critically overlooked features of the author's work has been the author's marked engagement with the assumptions that inform the reception of her work in her various contexts of reception (both explicitly in her numerous interviews and critical writings and more obliquely in her fiction) and her defence of the freedom of literature. In this thesis, I will be arguing therefore that the author's engagement with these issues along with her peripatetic claiming of a range of identities can be viewed as challenging specific assumptions concerning the relationship between individual and collective identities and the work of literature and criticism. With a view to developing this argument, I read a selection of the author's critical writings and interviews and five of her fictional texts: En attendant le bonheur, Moi, Tituba sorciere ... Noire de Salem, Les derniers rois mages, Le coeur a rire et a pleurer: contes vrais de mon enfance and Desirada. I situate these texts in a critical framework that brings together the work of Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fanon with theorisations of postcolonial/gender studies, ‘representativity', ‘reception’ and ‘literature'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available