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Title: Publishing sub-Saharan Africa in Paris 1945-67
Author: Bush, Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an investigation of literary institutions and print culture in France during the two decades following the Second World War. It demonstrates how the changing metropolitan literary marketplace, driven by new methods of book production and bookselling; the rise of internationalism and tiers-mondisme; and a nascent notion of francophonie, accommodated writing of and on sub-Saharan Africa. The first half of the thesis focuses on three institutions of particular significance: the publishing houses of Le Seuil and Présence Africaine, and the Association nationale des écrivains de la mer et de l’outre-mer, known for the literary prizes it administered. Diverse strategies for evaluating representations of sub-Saharan Africa are explored through new research in the archives of these institutions. The tensions between specialist and more commercially orientated publishing, between anti-colonial and exotic representations of sub-Saharan Africa do not map cleanly onto separate institutional contexts in this period. These tensions are underpinned by shared political and aesthetic debates, technological resources, and social contexts. The second half of the thesis analyses in greater detail the publishing process of selection, production and distribution in seven individual case-studies of novels by Christine Garnier, Abdoulaye Sadji, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Malick Fall, Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe and Peter Abrahams. Aspects considered include: readers’ reports and editorial revision; the use of pseudonyms; the development of named collections; the role of literary translators. My methodological approach works with, and at times against, a Bourdieusian framework, to describe the literary field in this period. More specifically, Pascale Casanova’s depiction of Paris as capital of the “World Republic of Letters” is tested and nuanced through the historical focus on the period 1945 – 67. Rather than a passive annexation to the colonial centre, African literary production is shown to be intrinsic to and constitutive of the restless political and aesthetic landscape of post-war reconstruction and decolonisation in the French-speaking world.
Supervisor: Boehmer, Elleke; Garfitt, J. S. T. Sponsor: Zaharoff Graduate Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of the book ; Africa ; Europe ; Literatures of Romance languages ; French