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Title: African literary journals in French and Portuguese, 1947-1968 : politics, culture and form
Author: Reza, Alexandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 2620
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This is a study of two literary journals published in Europe in the years around African decolonization: Présence Africaine in Paris, and Mensagem in Lisbon. Drawing on close reading, archival research and work in postcolonial and critical theory, the thesis offers the first substantial engagement with the connections between the two journals. The study considers how the body of thinking these journals represent can inform contemporary literary-critical postcolonial scholarship and makes a number of theoretical propositions. First, the study argues for the significance of the literary journal as a key form in the conjuncture of African decolonization. Second, it proposes (and demonstrates) a historically and geographically contingent understanding of the relationships between literature, culture and politics. Third, through its interrogation of multi-scalar anti-colonial literary geographies, the study makes an empirical and theoretical contribution to comparative, multilingual and 'transcolonial' scholarship in francophone and lusophone postcolonial studies. Finally, I make a further empirical contribution to the study of African and anti-colonial literary history by bringing forward the place of women at both institutions and analysing their writing. Very little academic work has treated French and Portuguese language anti-colonial literary practice comparatively. If anything, postcolonial work in both languages has been more concerned to delineate the historical and theoretical distinctiveness of francophone and lusophone literary histories from a dominant body of anglophone postcolonial theory. As this research emphasizes, however, much anti-colonial African publishing and writing in French, Portuguese and English deliberately deployed translation and multilingual modes of 'lateral and associative' (Boehmer, 2005) intertextuality as a way of countering state-backed exceptionalist arguments about the French and Portuguese languages and colonial projects. This intertextuality is manifest in literary journals. Methodologically, this study both compares the two journals and also figures them as part of shared transnational literary and anti-colonial networks. I propose modes of comparative reading capable of dealing both with the specificity of Portuguese and French colonial and anti-colonial histories and with the continuities between European colonial-capitalist practices. This comparative mode addresses both the particularities of African writing in French and Portuguese and the multilingual intertextuality these journals display.
Supervisor: Hiddleston, Jane ; Rothwell, Phillip Sponsor: Wolfson-Merriott-MML Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available