Of Suffocated Hearts and Tortured Souls: Seeking Subjecthood Through Madness in Francophone Women's Writing of Africa and the Caribbean

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Lexington Books, 2003 - 197 pages
Female characters who suffer madness and insanity are strikingly prominent in novels by women writers of Africa and the Caribbean. To find out why there are so many "suffocated hearts and tortured souls" in this literature, Valerie Orlando, who has long studied Francophone text and culture, here closely reads the work of Aminata Sow Fall, Mariama Bâ, Myrian Warner-Vieyra, and Simone Schwarz-Bart, among others. In these women's novels, Orlando finds, madness is the manifestation of a split identity, and in this study she sets herself the task of interrogating the nature of that identity. Francophone women novelists of Africa and the Caribbean--though they come from countries whose unique experiences of colonialism, revolution, and postcolonial regimes have shaped specific and discrete cultures--express a common search for a meaningful relationship between their experience as women to the history and destiny of their nations. Only when "woman"' is understood not as an ahistorical object but as a subject whose lived body is entwined with political, cultural, and economic structures, Orlando argues, will insanity finally give way to clarity of being. Interweaving literary citations with theoretical discussion, Suffocated Hearts and Tortured Souls is just as much a masterful explication of profoundly affecting literary work as it is an essential addition to feminist scholarship and theory.
 

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Contents

The Politics of Race and Patriarchy in Suzanne Lacascades ClaireSolange ame africaine
37
Home Is Where I Eat My Bread Multiculturality and Becoming Multiple in Leila Houaris Zeida de nulle part
51
Introduction to State II
63
SelfLoathing SelfSacrifice Michele Lacrosils Cajou and Myriam WarnerVieyras Juletane
73
Outinside the Confinement of Cultures Marie Chauvets Amour Colere et Folie and Mariama Bas Un Chant ecarlate
97
Rooms and Prisons Sex and Sin Places of Sequestration in Nina Bouraouis La Voyeuse Interdite and Calixthe Beyalas Tu tappelleras Tanga
125
Introduction to State III
145
War Revolution and Family Matters Yamina Mechakras La Grotte eclatee and Hajer Djilanis Et Pourtant le ciel etait bleu
147
Feminine Voices and Herstories Simone SchwarzBarts Pluie et Vent sur Telumee Miracle and Aminata Sow Falls Douceurs du bercail
165
Transgressing Boundaries Reconstructing Stories
181
Bibliography
187
Index
193
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About the author (2003)

Valérie Orlando is Associate Professor of French, specializing in Francophone Studies, at Illinois Wesleyan University. She is the author of Nomadic Voices of Exile: Feminine Identity in Francophone Literature of the Maghreb (1999).

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