My dissertation approaches postcolonial African literature and political culture through the lens of a baroque aesthetic of spectacle and subversion. The basic premise is that the baroque, identified by Michel Foucault in Les Mots et les Choses (1966) as that pivotal transition between the Renaissance and classical episteme, is characterized by representational and rhetorical strategies that draw on the morbid-erotic and corporeal imagination to represent "reality" as an irrational, chaotic encounter of conflictive forces. From the notion of a "modern baroque" proposed by Christine Buci-Glucksmann in La Raison Baroque (1984), I develop a broad theory of the baroque that encompasses both art and critical theory, as well as material socio-economic realities of late or high modernity. Then, drawing from Édouard Glissant's discussion of a contemporary global baroque phenomenon in his work Poétique de la Relation (1990), my dissertation looks specifically at the baroque in postcolonial Africa, as a literary aesthetic, and as a political style of power and related subversive practices identified by Achille Mbembe in his work De la Postcolonie (2000). Through concerted analyses of select African novels by Yambo Ouologuem, Henri Lopes, Sony Labou Tansi, Calixthe Beyala, Ken Bugul, and others, I explicate the different characteristics of a baroque aesthetic practice in postcolonial francophone African literature.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. Major: French. Advisor: Judith Preckshot. 1 computer file (PDF); iii, 349 pages, appendices A-D.
Joslin, Isaac V..
Baroque and post/colonial Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa: The aesthetic embodiment of unreason..
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