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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Birth of a nation? the origins of Senegalese literature in French
Author:Murphy, DavidISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:literary history
French language
About persons:Bakary Diallo (1892-1978)ISNI
David Boilat (1814-1901)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v039/39.1murphy.pdf
Abstract:Although most critics chart Senegalese literary history from the 1930s and the rise of Negritude, there also exist a small number of texts from the 1850s-1920s that are usually classified as a sort of proto-Senegalese literature. This article focuses on Abbé David Boilat's 'Esquisses sénégalaises' (1853) and Bakary Diallo's 'Force-bonté' (1926), both of which occupy a deeply ambiguous position within the national literary canon because of their open support for French colonialism. The article contends that the status of these texts as key works in the Senegalese national canon rests on a specific vision of their Franco-African 'hybridity'. In many respects, both Boilat and Diallo can be seen as archetypal 'representatives' of French colonialism at different stages of the colonial process, as France's 'métis' intermediaries of the mid-19th century were forced to give way to black Africans at the beginning of the 20th century. By questioning the value and the limitations of the notion of cultural hybridity in relation to colonialism and nationalism in Senegal, the article aims to discover whether these texts by Boilat and Diallo might be deemed to signal the birth of a nation or the birth of a colony. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]