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Title: Léon-Gontran Damas, genre and resistance : an alternative trajectory of Négritude
Author: Miller, Francis Bartholomew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 2554
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis offers a new perspective on Leon-Gontran Damas through a postcolonial reading of his works. It integrates genre theory into its analysis in order to demonstrate how his conceptualisation of Negritude modulated. In particular, it theorises that the modulation in Damasian Negritude ideology occurs alongside the adoption of certain literary forms. The introduction establishes the background for research on Damas's work and contextualises it through recent approaches to postcolonial studies and genre theory, and the four chapters of the thesis analyse how generic experimentation allows different perspectives of Damasian Negritude to emerge. The first chapter examines Damas's Pigments (1937), and how the different voices within this poetry collection together represent an emergence of anti-colonial consciousness, or a Saidian 'voyage in'. Following this, the second chapter, which examines Retour de Guyane (1938), analyses Damas's encounter with colonialism in Guyane through his ethnographic essay. The third chapter on Veillees noires (1943) explores how Damas returns to his own Guyanese cultural traditions, contesting colonialism through his representation of folk tales. Finally, the fourth chapter, on Black-Label (1956) suggests that the long poem is a reflection upon colonialism and its afterlives. In demonstrating that the evolution of Damasian Negritude is linked to generic experimentation, this thesis presents the author's alternative trajectory of Negritude as an imaginative and mutable process of a voyage, encounter, return and reflection. An original contribution to postcolonial studies and Francophone studies is made in three ways. Firstly, this research develops the notion of Damasian Negritude as a dynamic and unstable process of literary expression. Secondly, it considers Damas as an author who wrote in opposition to French empire. Thirdly, the study combines a postcolonial approach to literature with genre theory for the first time, and thus aims to further expand the purview of the literary dimension of postcolonial studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available