Revue Safara numéro 11 - janvier 2012
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Revue Safara numéro 11 - janvier 2012



SAFARA est une revue internationale de langues, littératures et culture publiée chaque année par la Section d'Anglais de l'UFR des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de ...

SAFARA est une revue internationale de langues, littératures et culture publiée chaque année par la Section d'Anglais de l'UFR des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal.



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    Revue Safara numéro 11 - janvier 2012 Revue Safara numéro 11 - janvier 2012 Document Transcript

    • SAFARA REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE LANGUES, LITTÉRATURES ET CULTURES N°11 janvier 2012 ISSN 0851-4119 UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, BP 234, Sénégal
    • SAFARA REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE LANGUES, LITTÉRATURES ET CULTURES UFR de Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger, BP 234 Saint Louis, Sénégal Tel +221 33 961 23 56 Fax +221 .. 961 1884 E-Mail : Directeur de Publication : Omar SOUGOU Université Gaston Berger COMITÉ SCIENTIFIQUE Omofolabo Flora Chima Mwamba Mamadou Ernest Graham Simon Mamadou A-SOYINKA (Kansas, USA) ALEXANDER (Royaume-Uni) ANYADIKE (Nigeria) CABAKULU (Sénégal) CAMARA (Sénégal) EMENYONU (N. Carol., USA) FURNESS (Royaume-Uni) GIKANDI (Princeton, USA) KANDJI (Sénégal) Baydallaye Edris Maweja Mustapha Molara Fiona Ndiawar Harold Marième KANE (Sénégal) MAKWARD (Wisc., USA) MBAYA (Sénégal) MUHAMMAD (Nigeria) OGUNDIPE (Ghana) MCLAUGHLIN (Kans., USA) SARR (Sénégal) SCHUEB (Wisc., USA) SY (Sénégal) COMITE DE RÉDACTION Rédacteur en Chef Badara SALL, UGB Co-Rédacteur en Chef Obododimma OHA, Ibadan, Nigeria Secrétaire de Rédactions Babacar DIENG, UGB Mamadou Ba, UGB Assistante de rédaction Khadidiatou Diallo, UGB Administrateur et trésorier Abdoulaye BARRY Relations extérieures Baydallaye KANE Membres Oumar FALL, UGB Olusegun ADEKOYA, Nigeria Fallou NGOM, Washington Lawan SHUAIB, Nigeria © Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis, 2011 ISSN 0851-4119
    • SOMMAIRE Revisiting African Education For African Development Through Indigenous African Languages ………………..…. 5 Pierre GOMEZ Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara: Specificity, Challenges and Perspectives ………………………………………… Chaibou Elhadji OUMAROU 17 Transtextuality in South African Fiction: The Novels of Alex La Guma and André Brink …………………………… 37 Khadidiatou DIALLO “Cane is Bitter”: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History …..… Julia UDOFIA 69 .Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier : Les replis d’un texte …. Boubacar CAMARA 83 Meurtre sacré et mort profane. Enjeux des tableaux narrativisés dans A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans ……… 101 Issa NDIAYE Lenrie Peters: The eagle-eyed socio-political Observer …….. Pierre GOMEZ 121
    • Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Revisiting African Education for African Development through Indigenous African Languages Pierre Gomez* Moving into the 21st century, and the world becoming more globalised than never before, the African has a responsibility to create a developmental paradigm to pave the way for socioeconomic progress. In this process, Africans must begin to decide and design a development strategy that is African, one which is based on African education through African languages and one which is responsive to the needs of the African as the Africans response to globalization. How can this be achieved? There is an urgent need for us to re-conceptualize our education, re-connect to our culture and languages and most critically design an indigenous educational paradigm that is linked to African languages and realities. This debate has captured the interest of many high-profile scholars such as Wali (1963), Ngugi (1986), Mafeje (1994), Menang (2001) among others. The theme of language in African educational systems continues to be a contentious issue in post-Independence African countries. The importance of using the child’s mothertongue as the medium of instruction at school was underscored by UNESCO (UNESCO: 1953). Moreover, this organization continues to uphold the view that the choice of an instructional language and policies concerning language in schools are critical for any meaningful teaching and learning to take place (UNESCO: 2005). The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) also clearly maintains that language is an important determinant for quality education (ADEA: 2004). * Senior Lecturer Ag. Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, the University of The Gambia.
    • 6 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development It is also necessary to take note of the above especially when one considers the fact that in most African educational systems, the medium continues to be the language of the colonial masters. Children continue to start school using a foreign language (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2010). Thus the need to integrate indigenous African languages in African schools as mediums of communication cannot be overemphasized. This is necessary in order to make the education that African children continue to receive more relevant to their needs and aspirations. There should be a call to use African languages in acquiring and disseminating knowledge for the purpose of sustainable education. Most African societies – if not all – are multilingual. This is to say that learners in African schools would have gained some degree of proficiency in their L1s even before starting to learn a foreign language. The only difference is in the syntactic and morphological structures between the mother-tongue and the foreign language they are obliged to acquire. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in its 2010 report aptly states: “…the choice of languages, their recognition and sequencing in the education system, the development of their expressive potential, and their accessibility to a wider audience should […] be gradual, concentric and be done in an all-inclusive approach”. It is therefore imperative to note that a step-by-step integration of African languages in educational systems shall yield far reaching benefits for both learners and society. Local languages, if properly utilized, could complement foreign languages as mediums of instruction in African classrooms. The multiplicity of languages in African societies could bring about effective communications and unity contrary to the widely held view that it could be a “communication barrier, and would engender conflicts and tensions” (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2010). The existence of a variety of speech communities which use different languages could be effective in matters of governance, communication and above all, education. In essence, African languages could be instrumental tools in reshaping the lives and dreams of entire generations.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 7 Language policies could be developed through holistic means to enhance social cohesion and overall linguistic and academic development of learners. Thus concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the business of education are needed to make learning vibrant. In fact, African languages could be used as mediums of instruction in schools to enhance students’ understanding of concepts that are abstract and alien to them. When carefully selected and utilized, they can positively improve learner’s performance in the achievement of set down educational goals and targets. Also, with the use of indigenous languages, and increased access to learning materials, there will be massive community participation in the educational arena. Thus, capacities of both the beneficiaries and implementers of education shall be enhanced to reasonable degrees. In its 2003 Biennial Meeting, ADEA succinctly stated that African languages could be determinants for quality education. Education for All Global Monitoring Report (2006), in concord with ADEA, also asserted that “improving the quality of education is one of the six goals of education”. These assertions have set the motion for an all-out debate on the use of the mother-tongue with a view to improving the educational performances of learners. Linguistic diversity could bring to light the linguistic reality of a country. Through a well-planned and coordinated language learning programme, community activities could be clearly outlined. According to Djite (2008) and Stronel (2002), a linguistically empowered and creative people are able to contribute more effectively to economic growth. This view is vital to note because community life in African settings is characterized by the use of languages. Moreover, access to knowledge and information technology through the use of African languages is critical in boosting the productive capacities of beneficiaries. The language industry can greatly complement the creative industry through the effective use of mother-tongue based instruction or communication. African languages continue to be relevant in education and commerce. Djite (2008) discusses the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity for development from the perspective of health, education, governance and the economy. Industrial countries could help in the development of strategies based on the realities on the ground in
    • 8 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development order to meet their demands and targets within the framework of efficient and healthy competitions. This shall enable education planners and partners to effectively support drives that are necessary to make education meaningful and responsive to the needs of the people. The argument in most intellectual circles that most African languages are too costly and time-consuming to integrate in the mainstream of educational systems should not be given much consideration. This is because as language develops in use, it could be used to meet set down targets using cost effective strategies. In Senegal for instance, Associates in Research and Education for Development (ARED) publish in Pulaar to respond to the Pulaar community’s need and demand for Pulaar literature. ARED’s main aim among other things is to go beyond basic and functional literacy materials with a view to making their interventions broad-based and in line with the changing needs of their beneficiaries. Using the mother-tongue is the medium of instruction in schools continues to draw the attention of many scholars. This is because the learner’s L1 could greatly help him to better comprehend abstract concepts that are supposed to be developed at an early stage. Schools should build on the skills and expertise in the first languages as language learning takes place in all subjects, not only in language classes (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong learning, 2010). Macdonald (1990) found that the frequent switch from one medium of instruction to another continues to be responsible for the inadequate linguistic proficiency of many early learners. Thus, a good number of such learners eventually find it impossible to be able to appropriately get themselves immersed in the foreign language of instruction. Alidou and Brock- UTRE, 2006; 87 outlined that some students, particularly girls, avoid speaking in class especially if the language of instruction is unfamiliar to them to avoid being “ridiculed”. Girls are more likely to participate actively in the classroom when the language of instruction is the local language (World Bank, 2000). With a carefully planned language instructional strategy, learning in African schools could be greatly enhanced. Learning
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 9 outcomes could be qualitatively improved. Results of learning objectives will be greatly enhanced. This implies that Africans must start to take ownership of their own education, not in isolation, but within the global context of new technological flows and information orders. In “Decolonizing the Mind” (1986), Ngugi Wa Thiong’o argues that the control of the African mind during the transAtlantic slave trade and colonial periods was done through the devaluation, at best, and destruction, at worst, of the African peoples culture, art, dances, religions, history, geography, education, and literature. Most crucial, of course, was the domination of the African languages by the languages of the colonial masters. This was necessary for them to be able to dominate the mental universe of the African and this necessity was explained away by the prejudicial assumption that “what we understand by Africa is the unhistorical under-developed spirit, still involved in the condition of nature” (Hegel, 1991:93). In the same vein, both Emmanuel Kant (1960) and David Hume (1964) believe in the inferiority of the Black race vis-à-vis the Whites. Therefore, in the family of nations the African is “a lateborn child” according to Lugard (1968). African culture and history are rich and their scientific exploitation and popularization are a sure path to progress and survival. The Gambia is one of those countries that could serve as a glaring example in terms of cultural wealth. Her culture places high premium on the respect of the integrity of women, and of marriage to ensure harmony and procreation and the expansion of the family. Before colonialism, venereal diseases were almost unknown in The Gambia and the soundness of the cultural values transmitted to the present generation explains why the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in this country is among the lowest in Africa. Wealth should not be defined in fiscal terms alone. African culture and tradition are also her wealth and academics are invited to explore further into the intrinsic cultural morality of traditional Gambians. It is evident that the continued effort to control the African mind by controlling his language is so strong. This has resulted in what Ngugi (1998, P.89) refers to as a continent of “bodiless heads and headless bodies”. Yet in the 21st century it is not surprising to find Africans dismissing any recognition of positive experiences in
    • 10 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development African history or language (Menang: 2001). When an African conspires to denigrate Africa (Emmanuel Kwofie: 1972) and her glorious past while admiring and eulogizing the totality of Eurocentrism and trying to be what Ali and Alamin Mazrui (1998: P.137) term Afro-Saxons; there is definitely a mental and developmental problem. The role of the African people in taking the lead in designing the development of their societies through Africancentered education by using African indigenous languages is central to Africa’s socio-economic development. Africans must start to take ownership of their own educational systems so that they find solutions to Africa’s myriad problems. Indeed, our continent is confronted with a plethora of mammoth problems and challenges that permeate through every single fabric of our human lives. These include health, education, socio- economic, political to name just a few. A prominent African sombrely summarizes the African situation thus: Once a region with rich natural resources as well as bountiful stores of optimism and hope, the African continent now teeters perilously on the brink of economic disintegration, political chaos, institutional and social decay. While this appraisal of Africa might seem too depressing, very few Africans would want to disagree with this observation that Africa has been experiencing regression, rather than progress, not only in the economic sphere, but also in the social and political spheres. It is against this backdrop that it is deemed necessary to rethink, revisit and re-conceptualize education in Africa to contribute to the socio-political and economic transformation of the continent. Another prominent scholar on African studies also observes that colonial education was Eurocentric and ignored the achievements and contributions of the indigenous populations and their ancestries; and that education in Africa is still struggling to rid itself of this colonial legacy. It is time for Africans to liberate themselves from this Eurocentric colonial legacy if any meaningful development is to be achieved. This can only be done by underpinning African education
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 11 in African indigenous cultures and languages as a tool for sociopolitical transformation. Strictly speaking, there is a strong nexus between language, education and development (Mbaabu: 1996). It is indeed true that development in any country has to do with the improvement of the social, cultural, economic and political lives of the people. However, this paper will be confined to the nexus between language, education, socio-economic development and the international environment. There is evidence pointing to the fact that there is a correlation between language, education and economic development; and this lies in the nexus between language and education on the one hand, and education and development on the other, all evolving within a given international context. It is axiomatic that language plays a critical role in education. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o identifies two aspects in every language: one is its role as an agent that enables us to communicate with one another in our struggle to find our means of survival; the other aspect is its role as a carrier of the history and the culture built into the process of that communication over time. The two aspects, he concludes, are inseparably linked and form a dialectical unity, describing language as the collective memory bank of a people. Going back to the role of language in education and consequently in development, this paper earlier emphasized the role of language in education. It is through linguistic interaction between teachers and learners on one hand, and among learners on the other, that knowledge is produced. Certainly, language learning proper, Bunyi argues, is an important component of the education itself. Accordingly, much of the children’s early years in school are spent on developing their linguistic skills. Such years are said to be spent on literacy development. Being one of the most multilingual continents, and therefore the most linguistically complex area of the world, postIndependence Africa needs to revisit and re-examine what type of literacy must support her policies as regards indigenous languages in education. It is therefore clear that “the use, misuse or even the non-use of a culture to which language belongs, can have a very fundamental impact on the minds of those who would have otherwise excelled, had they been taught and made to articulate their thoughts in a language they understand, a language that they
    • 12 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development are comfortable to spontaneously and creatively express their ideas and experiences in” (Senkoro: 2005, P.15) The relationship between literacy and economic development has already been confirmed and established, and UNESCO concludes in a study that illiteracy has a close correlation with poverty and underdevelopment. This suggests that in order to achieve meaningful development, literacy rates in Africa, especially south of the Sahara, must be raised. Needless to say, policies as regards indigenous languages in education will have a positive impact on the success of African development. The spread of languages such as English, French and Portuguese was concomitant with the advent of colonialism. Consequently, the educational role of these various languages has been, arguably, more destructive than constructive: “With the benefit of hindsight, one can only conclude that the colonial administration machine, knowing the important role of language in shaping one’s identity, initiated language policies that were meant to subdue their subjects, making them more susceptible to western languages and cultures. Many began to disdain their languages and other cultural practices, trying instead very hard to learn the western way” (Mohochis: 2005, P.5). Furthermore, whether through practice or by attitudes, the colonial languages have come to enjoy unparalleled pride and prestige in formal education in Africa. Ironically, it is African indigenous languages that have been and continue to be neglected in the formal education in Africa. As long as the denigration and devaluation of the African indigenous languages continue, no meaningful development can take place in the continent. It is time Africans domesticated African educational institutions by creating a strong relationship between indigenous languages and education for the purpose of socioeconomic development. This, combined with the use of ICTs as tools, can be fruitful in the drive to achieve new goals as set out in the 21st Century agenda. Indigenizing education needs a total social re-engineering and this is not only vital, but also immensely necessary if Africans want to promote and effect socio-structural change and to meet educational needs for socio-economic development.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 13 To achieve this, indigenous African languages should be given a more central role in education in Africa so as to contribute to the much needed social, economic and political transformations. The enormity and difficulty of this task is self-evident because of Africa’s socio-linguistic complexity. Language is constantly evolving and the language policy in Africa today must take into consideration its utility, and its integration into regional and continental supranational institutions. Language, as an instrument of development, should serve the African and not the other way round. It should not be an instrument that is used to construct ethnicity and nationality which are fluid in most contemporary African societies. As an instrument of development, language should be effectively used as a tool to bridge the inequality gap that exists among the different strata of African societies. Within the context of social and economic development, it should be used to harness the hopes and aspirations of the African people. It could, at all cost, be used to portray the wishes and aspirations of the African people within the framework of economic and social development; very far from the notion that it will create ethnic strife. Afro-centric scholars of contemporary times could use language to counter the prejudices and bias in the colonial literature concerning the black man (Okolo: 2005). It should be used to redefine the black man as opposed to the Eurocentric definitions and interpretations of him. A close re-examination of indigenous African languages shall bring to light realities concerning African culture, values, knowledge, beliefs and standards. This, to a large extent, shall unlock the mystery that has for a long time surrounded the African cosmological system. In fact, local languages could be effective tools that could be used to identify and strengthen the bonds that exist between and among the diverse ethnic groups in African societies. In some extreme situations, they could be used not only to intimately connect peoples and societies, but also to identify their different cultural identities and locations. The different linguistic groupings and languages could be harmonized with the different speakers adopting one as the lingua franca. Kiswahili is a typical example: it is spoken by almost 95% of
    • 14 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development the population (Batibo 1995: P.68) in Tanzania and other East African countries with more than 120 local languages according to Roy-Campbell and Qorro: 1997 (quoted by Senkoro: 2005, P.7). Wollof could be the Kiswahili of the Senegambia region if the will is there. With that, one could clearly see the unifying nature of the language within a complex sociolinguistic setting. Furthermore, post-Independence African countries continue to grapple with problems associated with language. This is because rather than serving as a unifying and developmental tool, it is used in many instances to divide the masses. Thus, a complete rethinking on the use of language for social reorientation and development is essential in both political and intellectual discourses within and among the African academic circles. This shall help unlock the mystery that surrounds the different African linguistic units within the broader context of development. Debates over the roles of African languages in social, political and economic transformations in African societies need to be at the forefront of debates concerning language as a tool for development and progress in post-Independence Africa. It is urgent to address the challenges that the colonially imposed languages represent for students and scholars in Africa as they strive to understand their linguistic identities within a global framework. The exercise should not be restricted but broadened in order to create a healthy intellectual reflection on the issue. References: Conrad, J., 1950, ‘Heart of Darkness’ (1899), in Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness and the Secret Sharer, New York: Penguin Publishers. Hegel, G.W.E., 1991, The Philosophy of History, Trans. J. Sibree, Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. Hume, D., 1964, ‘Of National character’, in Thomas Hill Green and Thomas H. Grose, eds., The Philosophical works, Darmstadt 3, no 1.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 15 Kant, E., 1960, Observation on the feelings of the beautiful sublime, Trans. J.I, Goldthwait: Berkeley and Los Angeles. Kenya”, Journal of African Cultural Studies, vol. 16 no. 1, pp. 85-94. Kwofie, E.N., 1972, ‘The Language question and Language consciousness in West Africa’, African Studies Association of the West Indies, Bulletin no. 5. December. Lugard, (1922), The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. Lugard, F.D., (1968), The Rise of our East African Empires, vol. 1, London: Frank Cass. Mafeje, Archie. (1994). ‘African intellectuals: an inquiry into their genesis and social options’ in Mamdani, Mahmood and Mamadou Diouf eds. Academic freedom in Africa. Dakar: CODESRIA Mazrui, A.A and Mazrui, A. (1995), Swahili, State and Society: The Political Economy of and African Language, Nairobi & London: East African Educational Publishers Mbaabu, I. (1996), Language Policy in East Africa, Nairobi: Educational Research and Publications. Mohochi, E.S. (2005), “Language and Regional Integration: Foreign or African Languages for the African Union?” In F.A. Yieke (ed.), East Africa: In Search of National and Regional Renewal, Codesria, Dakar, pp. 41-54. Mohochi, S., Turning to Indigenous Languages for Increased Citizen Participation in the African Development Process, Ngugi wa Thiong’O, (1986), Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Okolo, M., (2005), Reassessing the Impact of Colonial Languages on the African Identity for African Development, CODESRIA’s 11th General Assembly, December 6 – 10, 2005 Onoma, A.K. (2005), The Language Question: an Anti-essentialist Excavation, CODESRIA General Assembly, Maputo, Mozambique, 6-10 December, 2005
    • 16 P. Gomez: African Languages for Education& Development Senkoro, F.E.M (2005), Language of Instruction: The Forgotten Factor in Education Quality and Standards in Africa, CODESRIA General Assembly, Maputo, Mozambique, 6-10 December, 2005 UNESCO (2010 ), Why and how Africa should invest in African languages and multilingual education - An evidence- and practice-based policy advocacy brief, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning UNESCO, (1968), "The Use of Vernacular Languages in education: The Report of the UNESCO Meeting of Specialists", in. J.A. Fishman (ed.), pp. 688-716.
    • Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara: Specificity, Challenges and Perspectives Chaibou Elhadji OUMAROU * Introduction What do we mean when we talk about Francophonie? For Jean Claude Blachère (1993: 7), francophonie is a concept “not stabilized, its geography is fuzzy, its history poorly known, and its definition feeds perplexity.” This is especially because “It is difficult, indeed, to say who speaks French in black Africa- to limit ourselves to this space- and what it means to speak French: a little, a lot, passionately "? Even the concept of "francophone," says Jean Claude Blachère (1993: 7), is ambiguous because it "should cover only situations of orality 1" while it is used without question to describe an opaque monster called "francophone literature 2." Ambroise Kom (2000) describes Francophonie as a machine with three speeds. First there is the Francophonie of the North whose space covers France, Quebec, Acadia, Belgium and Switzerland in particular. In all these countries, he adds, French, as a mother tongue, is an ancient heritage of which the heirs and custodians are trying to manage in the best of their skills with the aim to making it grow and expand beyond their borders and leave it * Enseignant chercheur à l’Université Abou Moumouni, Niger. 1 La francophonie est un concept « non stabilisé, sa géographie est floue, son histoire mal connue, et sa définition alimente la perplexité, » d’autant plus qu’ « Il est bien difficile, en effet, de dire qui parle français en Afrique noire- pour s’en tenir à cet espace- et ce que c’est que parler français : un peu, beaucoup, passionnément ?» (p.7) 2 See also Jean-Louis Joubert et al. Les Littératures francophones depuis 1945. Paris : Bordas, 1986.
    • 18 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara thus enriched for their progeny. Then there is the Francophonie of the Arab world, that of Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and even Egypt. This Francophonie is similar with that of Asia. Finally, there is the Francophonie of Africa south of Sahara. The latter is the focus of this paper, especially its specificity, its challenges and its future prospects. To better understand that specificity, we have to go back in history and reopen the issue of the cultural and linguistic policy of France in order to look for and explain the historical, political and cultural roots of the Francophonie in sub-Saharan Africa. The challenges to this Francophonie will then be analyzed through the colonial policy of France and its consequences on the educational and cultural development in the countries concerned. The analysis will allow us to project the future of a new and more dynamic Francophonie for Africa. Note that if necessary the cultural and linguistic policy of France will be compared to that of Great Britain. The purpose of this comparison will be to better identify the "mistakes" of the Francophonie and learn from the Anglophone experience. The specificity of the Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara As already explained above, with the francophone of the North the expansion of the French language is always received with some satisfaction. What is more, in all these countries the people rightly claim the right and freedom to live, to dream and develop their "daily life in French;" which, briefly, defines the Francophonie of the North in opposition to the one of the South. The latter in turn has different characteristics depending on geography and history. Indeed, in Africa Ibnlfassi Laila and Nicki (1996: 6) have found the Francophone literature from both sides of the Sahara "fascinating because of the differences emerging from the two corners of a shared continent which experienced similar colonial histories, albeit in slightly different forms." Thus the central question that interests us at this point in terms of definition is to know what the Francophonie in Asia and in the Maghreb have in common and what distinguishes them from both the Francophonie of the North and the one of black Africa. Unlike in the North, in Asia and in North Africa French is either a second language or a
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 19 foreign language, not a mother tongue; which is also the case in Africa south of Sahara. But unlike black Africa, the Arab world, it is said, is culturally and linguistically homogeneous. Here in the Arab world language, culture and religion intermingle against the background of centuries-old Islamic civilization recognized as such by the colonizer 3. A. C. Brench (1967 :100-101) suggests that recognition when he explains how the perception and approach of the colonizer toward the Muslims were colored by the expansion of Islam into Europe where it took roots and even came into conflict with the Christian religion. So for Brench (ibid.), "This is one of the many and varied reasons why it [Islam] has been treated with circumspection and respect by the various administrations. During the colonial period, Muslims were permitted a certain amount of religious and political autonomy by the administration and missionaries. They were not treated as unsophisticated pagans and their beliefs, although considered erroneous, were respected 4.” Indeed, in the eyes of the French colonizer, there is one major difference that distinguishes the colonized peoples of Black Africa from the ones of Asia and North Africa. For example, unlike the former, the latter are considered as peoples "of ancient civilization, but vanquished (Antoine Leon 1991: 266), as it is the case in Indochina and North Africa. This recognition by the colonizer of the ancient nature of the civilizations of these peoples has therefore been one of the major reasons that led to adopt an attitude more conciliatory and respectful of their cultural and linguistic identities in comparison to the attitude of the same colonizer in non Islamized black Africa. The most illustrative example of this attitude was the conciliatory approach to teaching in elementary education. Indeed, Leon (ibid.) tells us that in Indochina the instruction is given in the native language during the first three years of primary education. It 3 4 See also Jean-Marc Moura. La litterature des lointains: histoire de l’exotisme europeen au XXe siècle. Paris : Honore Champion, 1998. See also Birgit Meyer et al., eds. Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of Flow and Closure. Oxford: Institute of Social Studies/Blackwell Publishers, 1999: 75.
    • 20 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara is also the case in the Maghreb, especially in Morocco, where "the language of the colonizer and that of the colonized [Arabic] are used jointly" (266, emphasis added). This educational approach is reminiscent of the one adopted by Great Britain in all its African colonies. Maybe we can also read some influence of the British policy of Indirect Rule on the French colonial administration as well as a recognition, even implicit, by the French, of its effectiveness. In all cases, Mahmood Mamdani (1996 :82-3) confirms this hypothesis when he writes that the change from the French policy of assimilation to that of association in Africa south of Sahara was inspired by both the experience of France in Indochina and Algeria, but also by " the British example next door”. This, Mamdani says, has enabled France to appreciate "the need for a native cultural policy rather than assimilation." Unfortunately, despite the good educational outcomes produced by this method, which involves the teaching of local languages in primary education before the language of the colonizer, France did not implement the teaching of local languages in its system of education in Africa South of the Sahara, preferring a policy of assimilation much more rigorous and glottophage, to paraphrase Jean-Louis Calvet (1993). Now the question is why, of all its colonies, it was only in those in Africa south of Sahara that France rigorously applied its policy of assimilation? In response to this question, the chief colonial administrator in charge of education in Cochin China first recognizes that "it is a common sense that the teaching of early childhood education is given in the mother tongue of the child." Of course he means when the teaching concerns "civilized" people with "ancient civilization" like the ones from Asia and North Africa. But the same philosophy does not apply in Black Africa because, according to the same colonial administrator, French is essential, in the first years, for "the education of barbarous or semi-civilized peoples."(Leon, 1991: 288; emphasis added) Michael Crowder (1962: 3) also observed that the attitude of the French colonizer towards the Africans south of the Sahara was different because this part of the continent was regarded as having "no indigenous culture worthy of the name.” So in the
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 21 eyes of the colonizer, Africa south of Sahara would be the habitat of "barbarians"; "a cultural desert," would say Gabriel Manessy (1994). To materialize this approach to cultural and linguistic policy of assimilation, the French developed a colonial educational system first in the metropolis and then in the colonies. Even in France some explained that this policy of assimilation was the result of the spirit of the Revolution of 1789. Thus, in her analysis of the institutional framework of Francophonie, notably through what she calls the "Traditional French Linguistic Policies, Their Extension to Her Colonial Empire and Their Legacy Today" Anne Judge notes that it was after the questionnaire developed by Abbé Grégoire in 1790 which shows the existence of many languages and dialects spoken in France that the Revolutionaries, in a spirit of justice and equality, “decided that [languages and dialects of France] should be suppressed in the name of equality of opportunity 5. This began a movement to establish state schools for the teaching of French."(In Laila Ibnlfassi et al, eds. 1996:13) It is therefore not surprising that in 1829 the Governor of Senegal undertook to establish schools where instruction was intended “to wipe out through a common education the difference 5 Mais le rêve révolutionnaire s’est vite transformé en un rêve impérial dont la francophonie va devenir le support principal. C’est du moins ce que nous apprend J-C. Blachère (1993 :25) à travers un discours d’inauguration d’une école coloniale en Afrique noire à la fin du 19eme siècle. Ainsi, pour le gouverneur de l’époque, « Le jour n’est peut-être pas éloigné où depuis le littoral de la Méditerranée jusqu’au golfe de Guinée un voyageur pourra, en tous lieux, entrer en relation avec les principaux habitants des pays parcourus au moyen de la langue française. Ce jour-la, notre œuvre sera devenue indestructible comme le fut celle des Romains dans l’Espagne et la Gaule antiques. Le nordouest africain tout entier sera pour toujours une terre imprégnée des souvenirs et de la civilisation de la France. » Le rêve impérial transparaît ici à travers la comparaison de l’œuvre civilisatrice de la France à celle des Romains, donc de l’empire romain avec le futur empire français.
    • 22 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara in customs and language” (in Spencer 1974: 163). About a century later, precisely on December 20, 1920, the Governor General of AEF signed an order which states that "No school will be allowed where the instruction is not given in French. The teaching of any other language is forbidden "(In-Tabi Manga 2000: 42). Henri Labouret (1938) is therefore right to say that, generally, the cultural and linguistic policy in France was influenced by its history. And F. Michelman (1995: 219) adds that this history is the legacy of the Roman Empire, particularly its tendency "towards linguistic and cultural centrism." So it is no surprise that Thomas Spear (2002: 11) tells us that of all the languages of colonization, French is the only one “whose old European capital remains the epicenter." And Spear adds that "only the French language has a European-based linguistic headquarter- from which the basic dictionaries are published 6 ...." (My translation) This headquarter is the French Academy founded in 1635 to regulate the use of French in France and around the worldwide. Indeed, it is Richelieu who created that academy, which, according to Harriet Walter (1994: 244), "will have the mission to decode the vocabulary and fix grammar. The first edition of the Dictionnaire de l’Académie prescribed in 1694 a "good usage," [meaning] the one of the court and of high society, as well as orthography respectful of etymology 7.” (My translation) A century later, in 1794, Father Gregory demanded the abolition of all other "dialects" in favor of French. And finally, in 1964 De Gaulle created the Haut Conseil de la Langue Française thus taking, in the words of Rubango (1999: 572), "the Francophonie to the baptismal font." This Haut Conseil later became the Haut Commissariat and then the Delegation a la Langue Française before becoming Francophonie under Francois Mitterrand. « Seul le français a un siège linguistique européen—d’où viennent les dictionnaires de base… ». 7 «aura pour mission de décoder le lexique et de fixer la grammaire. La première édition du Dictionnaire de l’Académie consacre en 1694 un «bel usage», celui de la cour et des gens de qualité, ainsi qu’une orthographe respectueuse de l’étymologie». 6
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 23 Irene d'Almeida (Spear in 2002) is therefore right to believe that the French language policy has its origins in the creation of the French Academy, whose main purpose is to ensure the purity of the French language. For Christian Valentin (2001: 55), Francophonie recalls "the assimilating dream of the Third Republic [which was] to bring together the peoples of the Empire around the same language spoken by all, in the same cultural melting pot8." (My translation) This is probably the same project that inspired the French colonial policy of assimilation and glottophagie in Africa south of Sahara and brought about the challenges facing Francophonie today. The Challenges Facing Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara "In less than ten years, the Africans will speak English, the technology they will use will come from America, their elites will be educated in the United States, as for we [the French], we will remain cut off from our African roots, curled up on a chilly Europe, incapable of being a competitive power 9."(Bernard Debre, a former French Minister of Cooperation," Plaidoyer pour l’Afrique", Le Figaro, 9 février, 1998) "Between the African intellectuals and the negro kinglets [roitelets] Paris had chosen long ago. Calls, pressing sermons, institutions, as rich as they are, will not help: the official Francophonie is bound to be the flag parade of hack mercenaries, 8 «le rêve assimilateur de la IIIème République [qui était] de rassembler les peuples de l’Empire autour d’une même langue parlée par tous, dans un même creuset culturel». 9 « Dans moins de dix ans, les Africains parleront anglais, la technologie qu’ils emploieront sera américaine, leurs élites seront éduquées aux Etats-Unis, nous resterons quant a nous [les Français] coupés de nos racines africaines, recroquevillés sur une Europe frileuse, incapable alors d’être une puissance écoutée.
    • 24 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara and the laughing stock of independent creators 10. "(Mongo Béti," Seigneur, deliver-nous de la Francophonie, " In Peuples noirs-Peuples africains, nos 59-62, sept-déc.1987/janv.-avr.1988, 106; My translation) The concern of the Minister Debré and the judgment without appeal of Mongo Béti are the consequences of the cultural and linguistic policy of colonial France of which Francophonie is a new manifestation. This is so much so because the weight of regulation of the colonial and now postcolonial school, with its educational reflexes, continues to weigh heavily on the minds and lives of the elite in particular (see also Blachère 1993) and on the socioeconomic and cultural development in general. The challenges, as they will be discussed later, are enormous; and although they cover all the aspects of the lives of Francophone Africans, the language issue remains the greatest concern. Already in 1961, Pierre Alexandre, in an article entitled "Les problèmes linguistiques des Etats négro-africains à l’heure de l’indépendance” [The Linguistic Problems of Negro-African States at the Time of Independence], established a link between these challenges and the language policy of France. He particularly emphasized how the exclusive use of French in colonial and now postcolonial schools, explains without doubt, on the one hand, the 10 « Entre les intellectuels africains et les roitelets nègres, il y a longtemps que Paris a choisi. Les appels, les sermons pressants, les institutions, aussi riches soient-elles, n‘y feront rien : la francophonie officielle est condamnée à être l’étendard de parade de plumitifs mercenaires, et la risée des créateurs indépendants. »
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 25 delay in African studies in France 11 compared to what happened in London or Brussels; and on the other hand, the fact that French, because of its glottophagie, to paraphrase Louis-Jean Calvet, "penetrated much deeper [into the being and identity of the colonized] and was qualitatively better known in French colonies than English in the English colonies. [The language policy of France] may also explain why the "petit Nègre" or "Français tirailleurs" has never grown like the Coastal English or Pidgin 12.”(183, emphasis added, my translation). But the most serious challenge, as Ambroise Kom (2000: 108) noted with bitterness, is that forty years after independence African countries have not yet really begun the "decolonization of the French language and its tools. Because of inadequate facilities, poor management of local staff and, above all, the lack of a rigorous and rational policy of appropriation of the colonial legacy, French, no 11 En effet, Jacqueline Bardolph a relevé avec regret le fait que des théoriciens et intellectuels comme Dérida, Lacan, Foucault, Kristeva et Irigaray, pourtant bien connus sur le plan international, ne lui étaient pas d’un grand secours dans ses recherches sur les littératures du Commonwealth. Et elle avance que cela est du au fait que les débats sur les littératures postcoloniales ont pris forme d’abord en Amérique du Nord et dans les pays anglophones du Commonwealth. Elle ajoute que les littératures postcoloniales ne sont pas encore enseignées dans les universités françaises. Pareille avec le féminisme, ce qui, dit-elle, est pour le moins paradoxal dans le pays de Beauvoir, Cixous, Kristeva et Irigaray (in Rowland Smith, ed. Postcolonizing the Commonwealth: Studies in Literature and Culture. Waterloo. Ontario: Wilfried Laurier University Press, 2000:39-47). 12 « pénétrait beaucoup plus en profondeur [de l’être ou de l’identité du colonisé], et était qualitativement mieux connu dans les colonies françaises que l’anglais dans les colonies anglaises. [La politique linguistique de la France] peut aussi expliquer pourquoi le « petit negre » ou « français tirailleurs » n’a jamais pris l’extension du Coast English ou Pidgin »
    • 26 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara matter what is said, is far from being considered as part of the African heritage. 13" (my translation) In the foreword to his book: Le français en Afrique noire: mythes, strategies, praitiques (1994), Gabriel Manessy rightly notes that the school and the political and administrative structures "have somehow limited negatively the other side of French in Africa, that is to say, the popular French also called "petit negre 14 " (8, emphasis added). As Pierre Alexandre and others had already done, Manessy did not resist the temptation to compare the past with the present to better understand the latter. Thus, he notes that unlike in the countries colonized by Belgium, Germany or Great Britain, in all Frenchspeaking countries that were under French rule, French, today as yesterday, "does assume there only unequally the role of lingua franca among communities speaking different mother tongues. This is obviously a direct legacy of colonization; the remarkable fact is that the legacy has survived the abolition of colonization and it actually seems not to be questioned anywhere 15... “(18; my translation). And Manessy comments that, unlike in the English-speaking countries where a pidgin developed as a lingua franca, there is in Francophone Africa, a "relative unity of French (...) rather more surprising than its « la décolonisation de la langue française et ses outils. Du fait de l’insuffisance des structures, de la mauvaise gestion du personnel local et, par dessus tout, de l’absence d’une politique rigoureuse et rationnelle d’appropriation de l’héritage colonial, le français, quoi qu’on dise, est loin d’être considéré comme faisant partie du patrimoine africain ». 14 « ont en quelque sorte délimité négativement l’autre face du français d’Afrique, c’est-à-dire le français populaire appelé aussi « petit nègre » 13 15 « n’y assume que fort inégalement le rôle de lingua franca entre les communautés de langues maternelles différentes. Il s’agit là, bien évidemment, d’un héritage direct de la colonisation ; le fait remarquable est qu’il ait survécu à l’abolition de celle-ci et qu’il ne paraisse être nulle part effectivement remis en question … »
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 27 diversification 16" (33; my translation; see also Calvet, L’Europe et ses langues (1993). Cote d'Ivoire is an exception with the development of “petit nègre” in the major urban centers (Walter 1994: 153). This explains in part why in Francophone Africa, in the words of Kom, language awareness is the lowest. Some argue that the continent has more pressing concerns than dealing with language issues. Perhaps, but " is it not illusory, wonders Ambroise Kom, to think that Africa can escape the simultaneous search for solutions to her problems while facing the risk of deteriorating situations that could have been remedied otherwise 17? (Kom 2000:108-9; my translation). In any case, adds Kom, "it (...) seems difficult to separate the fate of African languages from the continent's political future 18" (6; my translation). As for Calvet (1993), he binds the continent's economic future to the development of African languages along side French. After that, the issue of the revaluation of African languages conceived and perceived as a condition for a genuine 16 « relative unité du français (…) qui surprend plutôt que sa diversification » 17 « n’est il pas illusoire, se demande Ambroise Kom, de penser qu’on peut ainsi échapper à la recherche simultanée des solutions aux problèmes qui se posent au risque de voir se détériorer des situations auxquelles on aurait pu remédier en s’y prenant à temps ? 18 « il (…) semble difficile de séparer le destin des langues africaines de l’avenir politique du continent »
    • 28 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara liberation is well documented 19. But their importance as a challenge for Francophonie in Africa South of the Sahara deserves a brief attention and review of the literature about the language debate. Kom and other researchers have in fact shown the importance of seriously taking into account the question of African languages in educational systems for the simple fact that there is no evidence that French has really solved the problem of communication among the language groups present in many Francophone countries. Language of the elite and administration, French is used by the happy few who were privileged to have attended school to a certain level. In addition, despite all the campaigns for literacy, the school benefits only a tiny fraction of the population. Therefore the development of popular French that can strengthen the national unity is limited. In fact, linguists agree that in the best case, not more than 10% of the populations of French-speaking Africa are truly fluent in French, even if the official rates are higher for reasons very well known. As an illustration, Kom took the case of Senegal and Algeria, two countries where the French presence was the longest in Africa. In the case of Senegal, Kom explains, after three hundred years of French colonization, the country has 19 See K. Barber, « African Language Literature and Postcolonial Criticism, » in Research in African Literatures, 24/4 (1995) :3-30 ; E. Ngara et al, eds., Literature, Language, and the Nation, ATOLL/Baobab Books, 1989; R. Fardon et al , eds., African Languages, Development and the State, Routledge, 1994; Research in African Literatures, 23/1 (1992): numéro spécial sur la question des langues africaines dans leurs rapports avec la littérature et le développement; W. Safran et al, eds., Language, Ethnic Identity and the State, Routledge, 2005; Calvet, L’Europe et ses langues, Plon, 1993; La guerre des langues et les politiques linguistiques, Payot, 1987; Tabi-Manga, Les politiques linguistiques au Cameroun, Karthala, 2000; Collectif, Language in Education in Africa, Edinburgh: Centre of African Studies, 1986; International Journal of the Sociology of Langauge, vol. 137 (1999); Gérard, European-Language Writing in Sub-saharan Africa, Budapest, 1986; Fishman, ed. Advances in Langauge Planning, Mouton, 1974.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 29 only about 10% of the population that truly masters the language of Voltaire. It is also the case in Algeria where, after one hundred twenty-six years of colonization, the country had about 15% of boys and 6% of girls who attended school in 1954 (Kom 2000:110-111). Note that among these literate boys and girls, at least in the case of Niger, many can barely write and sign their names! The case of Niger is also good to think about by those who want to sell Francophonie, claiming the role of the French language as a tool of interethnic communication and the role it played in the national unity. For if it is admitted that only 10% of the population uses French, we must also add that there are ten ethnic groups in the country. Assuming that the ten groups had equal access to school, which is not certain, how many elites of each group are fluent in French? Logically no more than 1%! This is to say that in reality only 1% of the population of each group can communicate effectively in French with all the other nine ethnic groups. In light of the above facts, the opportunities for national unity by the French language are rather slim 20. In the same vein, William Safran argues that "a common language does not guarantee national unity" (in Landau, ed. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, vol.137 (1999:61). Indeed, the case of Somalia illustrates the argument defended by Safran because this country is, according to Gerard (1990: 73), "the only sub-Saharan country with full ethnic homogeneity"; except, to some extent, Burundi and Lesotho. And yet Somalia seems now more than ever torn by internal conflicts. This means that other 20 Dans l’avant-propos de sa pièce théâtrale Tanimoune, l’historien Nigérien André Salifou écrit: « Je n’ai absolument rien contre la «francophonie », ni même contre la « francité », mais personne n’est dupe : quand on dit d’un pays comme le Niger, par exemple, qu’il est francophone, tout le monde sait qu’il ne s’agit la que d’une certaine façon de parler de ce qui n’est pas. Les Nigériens capables de lire un ouvrage- ou même le moindre texte- écrit en français, ne représentent encore qu’une poignée de privilégiés. » (cite par Bokiba dans Ecriture et Identité dans la Littérature Africaine. Paris : L’Harmattan, 1998 :29-30)
    • 30 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara reasons have to be looked for outside multilingualism (see also Bamgbose 1994). What then? The future of Francophonie in Africa South of the Sahara Ambroise Kom and others have proposed a change in the educational systems, a change whose primary purpose will be "the domestication of the French language" which necessarily entails a certain valorization and development of African languages. Especially because linguists and educators are unanimous that the teaching of mother tongues in primary school education plays a significant role in the transmission of theoretical and professional knowledge and above all in the learning of a second or foreign language like French in Africa. That is one of the conclusions that Tabi-Manga (2000) and many others have learned from the British experience. Moreover, that experience has been confirmed by all the experimental schools of Francophone countries which nevertheless continue to exclude the local languages from teaching in the other schools. So teaching the African languages alongside French in our schools must be the condition of our presence in a new Francophonie that is fair, balanced, supportive and respectful of our identity. It is also one of the major challenges facing Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara. Conclusion "It is Hamani Diori, former president of the Republic of Niger, who is cited as the architect of the institutional Francophonie for having been credited with the initiative of ACCT and it is indeed Leopold Sédar Senghor, poet, Academician and former president of Senegal who is recognized as the greatest theorist and ideologue in
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 31 chief of the Francophonie movement. 21” (Kom 2000:111; my translation) So born in Niamey on the banks of the River Niger and weaned in Dakar on the banks the River Senegal before joining its ancestors on the banks of the Seine in France, it is still in Africa that Francophonie is facing its greatest challenges. Growing pains or crises of identity, Francophonie is facing challenges and paradoxes that are threatening to destroy it in the absence of necessary reforms. For Jean-Pierre van Deth, the Francophone countries "have contributed in their way, and for various reasons, to the current supremacy of English 22" (in Calvet 1993: 133; my translation). Indeed, in Africa south of Sahara, the decline of the French language is mainly due to the linguistic and cultural policy that France conducted during colonization and continues to practice after independence with the complicity of African leaders. Already in 1985 Mohamadou Kane lamented the fact that some French cultural assistants and African nationals "with the support of the local political power, can deprive the education specialist of the country of any pedagogical initiative 23" (in Beniamino 1999: 182; my translation). Fifteen years later, Ambroise Kom (2000: 52) notes with regret that Notre Librairie "is a creation of the French Ministry of Cooperation and Foreign Affairs and the Commissariat Général de la Langue Française. Its objective is to popularize African literary production in the continent and in the other French-speaking nations of the world. The offices of Notre Librairie are located in the 21 « C’est bien Hamani Diori ancien président de la République du Niger qui est cité comme l’artisan de la francophonie institutionnelle du fait que l’initiative de l’ACCT lui revient et c’est bel et bien Léopold Sedar Senghor, poète, académicien et ancien président de la République du Sénégal qui est reconnu comme le plus grand théoricien et l’idiologue en chef du mouvement de la francophonie. » 22 « ont contribué à leur manière, et pour diverses raisons, à la suprématie actuelle de l’anglais » 23 « acquis au pouvoir politique, peuvent priver les spécialistes du pays de toute initiative pédagogique »
    • 32 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara Ministry of Cooperation and its editors are all staff of that Ministry. Although Notre Librairie requests numerous [external] scientific collaborations, the journal is primarily an instrument of propaganda; extremely attentive to the image that African states want to give of themselves and of their culture 24." (my translation) Given the poverty of African countries and the low level of the linguistic consciousness that characterize them and the financial and political means available to the Francophonie, we can say without any risk of error that the image of Africa, and especially of their respective countries that these leaders will give is largely created by and for the needs of the Francophonie. (See also Serge Bourjea in Beniamino 1999: 189-190). But if in spite of all of the above facts, one can still conclude that Francophonie is a failure then it becomes necessary to draw the appropriate lessons. The fundamental lesson comes from the experience of the British or Anglophonie: namely the need to change the education systems in Francophone Africa south of Sahara. The aim is to introduce the teaching of local languages as a necessary complement to the French language. Without this complementarity, warns Calvet (1993: 167), "there will be no future for the French language” (my translation), especially since the introduction of African languages in primary education in the former British colonies has not stopped English from flourishing. Instead the language of Shakespeare is thriving so well that it has become a point of concern for the Minister Debré (Kom 2000). 24 « est une création du Ministère français de la Coopération et des Affaires Etrangères et du Commissariat Général de la Langue française. Elle se donne comme objectif de faire connaitre la production littéraire africaine sur le continent et dans les autres Etats francophones du monde. Les bureaux de Notre Librairie se situent au sein même du Ministère de la Coopération et ses éditeurs sont tous fonctionnaires dudit ministère. Bien qu’elle sollicite de nombreuses collaborations à caractère scientifique, la revue est avant tout un instrument de vulgarisation ; extrêmement attentif à l’image que les Etats africains veulent donner d’eux-mêmes et de leur culture »
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 33 Moreover, local cultures are much more developed in the English speaking countries than in Francophone countries. For Abdou Moumouni, the possibility of a flowering of African cultures on the side of English was finally the mark of the difference between the British colonization, with its education system tolerating the teaching of local languages, and that of France which dreamed of a universal language, French. Moumouni explains that this difference is "not in any philanthropic tendency of English colonization compared with the French, but in the objectively greater possibilities of cultural development which flow from even the partial use of African languages in schools "(in Michelman 1995:220; emphasis added). In addition, the teaching of African languages will enable students to have a better perception of their languages and identities, without forgetting that it will allow an increase in enrollment rates. It is probably no coincidence, says Gabriel Manessy (1994: 26), if Togo and Benin, two countries where the schools of the German missions kept the traditions of teaching in local languages, quickly became, according to a famous formula, the "Latin Quarter" of francophone west Africa while Senegal, even after three hundred years of French colonization, is not very far from Niger, often showcased as the worst example in Africa in terms of schooling. After the reform of schools, universities in francophone Africa south of the Sahara as well as in the metropolis must in their turn be reformed to become more interested in African Francophone literature. Because they have been created in the image of French universities, Kom (2000) reminds us, Francophone African universities do not give enough importance to their own cultures through the teaching of national literatures in French as well as in local national languages. For example, none of these universities, with the exception of the University of Yaoundé (although the case of Cameroon is unique because of its bilingual situation: French and English), has within it a department of African languages and / or national literatures. By contrast, in Nigeria, for example, some universities have curricula in Master (MA) and doctorate (PhD) degrees in the three languages of wider communication: Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo. And for many years it has been possible to have a
    • 34 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara Master or a PhD entirely written and defended in these languages. Akinwumi Isola informs us that at the University of Ife, for example, the first PhD entirely written in Yoruba was defended on March 7, 1991 (in Research in African Literatures 23 / 1 (1992: 21). By contrast, adds Kom, in Dakar, Abidjan, and Ouagadougou as well as in Brazzaville and Niamey, some go out of their ways to ensure that the place given to national and African literatures does not exceed the tolerable threshold for those who will judge the equivalence or integration across the different administrations. The reference is still to the French curriculum. And Ambroise Kom (2000: 168) concludes that "There is no irony to say that the example should still come from France. [For] ... the reality is that African universities, although they are autonomous, have a cultural contract to honor: that of not taking the risk of straying too far away from the old model of the metropolis. It is therefore important that the example comes from elsewhere and that French universities themselves set the tone [see also Alexandre 1961] and serve as models for their African counterparts. Because if the French university had granted the Francophone literatures of Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere a special place in their programs, Africa would not have hesitated as to develop the teaching of its own literatures and that of other francophone countries around the world 25." 25 « Il n’y a pas d’ironie à le dire : l’exemple doit encore venir de France. [Car]… tout tient au fait que les universités africaines, bien qu’autonomes, ont un contrat culturel à honorer : celui de ne point prendre le risque de trop s’éloigner du modèle de l’ancienne métropole. Il importe donc que l’exemple vienne d’ailleurs et que les universités françaises elles-mêmes donnent le ton [voir aussi Alexandre 1961] et servent de modèles à leurs homologues africaines. Car si l’université française avait accordé aux littératures francophones d’Afrique, des Antilles et d’ailleurs une place spécifique dans ses programmes, l’Afrique n’aurait pas tant hésité à développer l’enseignement de sa propre littérature et de celle des autres contrées francophones du globe ».
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 35 (my translation) It is also our conviction. Moreover, the future of the Francophonie in Africa south of Sahara will largely depend on these reforms. References: Alexandre, Pierre. « Problèmes linguistiques des états négroafricains à l’heure de l’indépendance.» Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 2/6 (1961):177-195. Bamgbose, Ayo, « Pride and Prejudice in Multilingualism and Development. » Richard Fordon et al; eds. African Languages, Development and the State. London : Routledge, 1994 :33-43. Baniamino, Michel. La francophonie littéraire: essai pour une théorie. Paris/Montréal : L’Harmattan, 1999. Blachère, Jean-Claude. Négritures. Les écrivains d’Afrique noire et la langue française. Paris : L’Harmattan, 1993. Béti, Mongo. « L’écrivain francophone, le public, la société. » Littératures africaines : dans quelle(s) langue(s) ? Yaoundé : Silex/Nouvelles du Sud, 1997 :237-242. Brench, A.C. The Novelists’ Inheritance in French Africa: Writers from Senegal to Cameroon. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967. Calvet, Jean-Louis. L’Europe et ses langues. Paris: Plon, 1993. Crowder, Michael. Senegal: A Study in French Assimilation Policy. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. Gerard, Albert. Contexts of African Literature. Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1990. Ibnlfassi, Laila and Nicki Hitchcott, eds. African Francophone Writing: A Critical Introduction. Oxford: BERG, 1996. Joubert, Jean-Louis et al. Les littératures francophones depuis 1945. Paris : Bordas : 986. Kom, Ambroise. La malédiction africaine : défis culturels et condition postcoloniale en Afrique. Yaoundé : Lit/Clé, 2000.
    • 36 C. E. Oumarou : Francophonie in Africa South of Sahara Labouret, Henri. « L’éducation des indigènes : méthodes britanniques et françaises.» L’Afrique Française 38 (1928) : 404-411. Léon, Antoine. Colonisation, enseignement et éducation : étude historique et comparative. Paris : L’Harmattan, 1991. Manessy, Gabriel. Le français en Afrique noire : mythes, stratégies, pratiques. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1994. Mamdani, Mahmood. Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996. Meyer, Birgit et al. eds. Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of Flow and Closure. Oxford: Institute of Social Studies/Blackwell Publishers, 1999. Michelman, Fredric. « French and British Colonial Language Policies: A Comparative View of Their Impact on African Literature. » Research in African Literatures 26/4 (Winter 1995): 216-225. Moura, Jean-Marc. La littérature des lointains : histoire de l’exotisme européen au XXe siècle. Paris : Honore Champion, 1998. Spear, Thomas C. « Introduction. » La culture française vue d’ici et d’ailleurs, 2002 :9-37. Spencer, John. « Colonial Language Policies and their Legacies in Sub-Saharan Africa. » Joshua A. Fishman, ed. Advances in Language Planning. The Hague/Paris: Mouton, 1974: 163-175. Valentin, Christian. « La francophonie et la langue française. » Revue des Deux Mondes, (nov.-déc. 2001) :52-59. Walter, Harriette. L’aventure des langues en occident : leur origine, leur histoire, leur géographie. Paris : Ed. Robert Laffont, 1994. Ya Rubango, Nyunda. « Le Congo et l’Afrique face aux enjeux et aux paradoxes de la francophonie.» Revue Canadienne des Etudes Africaines, vol.33, Nos 2/3 : 571-583.
    • Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Transtextuality in South African Fiction: The Novels of Alex La Guma and André Brink Khadidiatou DIALLO* Abstract This article seeks to analyze the transtextual network that binds the novels of Alex La Guma and André Brink in order to explain and demonstrate that the similarities and particularities noted in the thematic and aesthetic representation they made of racial discrimination is, actually, a multi-layered denunciation of such an evil. In this way, it explores the paratextual design and the intertextual parallelism that frame the message of commitment and transethnicity of both authors. Keys words: Transtextuality, paratextuality, intertextuality. Résumé Cet article est une analyse des relations transtextuelles que partagent les romans d’Alex La Guma et d’André Brink dans le but d’expliquer et d’affirmer que les similitudes et spécificités dans le traitement thématique et esthétique qu’ils font de la discrimination raciale en Afrique du sud est, en réalité, une critique caustique et multidimensionnelle de cette tragédie historique. Ainsi, cette étude examine le paratexte et les réseaux intertextuels par lesquels les deux auteurs encodent leur message d’engagement et leurs idéaux transethniques. Mots clés : Transtextualité, paratextualité, intertextualité. * Enseignante Chercheur, Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis, Sénégal.
    • 38 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction Introduction One thing that catches attention after reading works by South Africa’s literati is the recurrent treatment of the issue of apartheid. A wide range of literary works expose the same concern about the contradictions and abuses that were the order of the day under the Nationalist regime. Like many other figures, La Guma and Brink made caustic representations of the realities of the political regime that was running the country. By portraying the multifarious effects of such a system on the lives of individuals and groups, they are conscious that writers can be sometimes rebels who fight for “…human values – against everything which threatens the human – against everything which is essentially inhuman” 1, like promoting a culture that separates people on a race basis. Although “historically and legally separated” as coloured and white, La Guma and Brink share the conviction that South Africa must be freed from the arbitrariness of political power, a conviction framed in their productions through different perspectives. Following the principle upheld by Mikhail Bakhtin and Julia Kristeva that texts cannot be separated from the larger cultural or social textuality out of which they are constructed, it is no wonder that the writings of La Guma and Brink be sunk into the realities of South Africa under apartheid and present, to a certain degree, the same thematic and aesthetic reference. Thus, it will be enthralling a task to probe into the narrative shape and assess some techniques that sustain the representation of apartheid in order to show that it is a multifaceted denunciation of the lot of those who have borne the brunt of oppression. 1 André Brink, “Writers and Writing in the World”, Writing in a State of Siege: Essays on Politics and Literature, New York: Summit Books, 1983, p. 51.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 39 In this essay - concentrating on a work by each writer (In the Fog of the Seasons’ End 2 and A Dry White Season 3) and leaning on Genette’s theory of transtextuality - I seek to demonstrate that the parallel depiction of racial discrimination in La Guma’s and Brink’s works is, actually, a multivoiced indictment of the same arbitrary ideology. By spotlighting the paratextual and intertextual similarities and differences in the representation of South Africa, I hope to show that this transtextual depiction of the same issue suggests the meanings and impact of the two authors’ commitment to debunk the system. 1. Paratextual Framing In Palimpsestes 4, Gérard Genette defines transtextuality as a network of implicit or explicit relations that binds one text to another. Transtextuality is composed of five branches: intertextuality, paratextuality, metatextuality, architextuality and hypertextuality, all of them defining the different levels of textual dialogism. These models of literary cooperation are found in the novels of André Brink and Alex La Guma, although paratextuality and intertextuality are among the approaches that help the most both authors in their endeavour to map out the hideous face of apartheid. Paratextuality refers to all the elements that are at the outskirt of a piece of literary work, the textual drawings that accompany the work and which bear some “suggested” link with the story. “More than a boundary or a selected border, the paratext is, rather, a Alex La Guma, In the Fog of the Seasons’ End, London: Heinemann, 1972. All references to this novel are taken from this edition. In the text the title is abbreviated as The Fog. 3 André Brink, A Dry White Season, New York: Penguin Books, 1984. All references to this novel are taken from this edition. In the text the title is abbreviated as A Dry. 2 4 Gérard Genette, Palimpsestes : la littérature au second degré, Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1982.
    • 40 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction threshold. It is a “zone between text and off-text, a zone not only of transition but also of transaction […]” 5 In The Fog and A Dry, the paratext takes the form of a quotation, a text commonly known as “epigraph” which “determine[s] and shape[s] readers’ expectations as they enter the text” 6 and encloses clues that can lead to a full understanding of the story. In the first novel, the reader finds an “allographic epigraph” 7 borrowed from the poem of Guinean Conte Saidon Tidiany, Martyrs. It reads like this: Banquets of Black entrails of the Black, Armour of Parchment of wax, Fragile and Fugitive when facing the burning stone, Will be shattered like the spider web, In the Fog of the Seasons’ End. (The Fog, i) By its strategic place, this citation from Martyrs should, normally, arouse the curiosity of the “competent” 8 reader. The gist of the story in The Fog is a sensitization about the imperative of armed struggle in the colonial context of apartheid. As such, the meaning of the narrative is in line with the connotations of the epigraph. Indeed, in the poem, Tidiany alludes to the sufferings and shackles of bondage that have, for a long time, enslaved and killed blacks – “Banquets of black entrails of the Black” - , an oppression exerted by the ferocious and brutal white Oppressor – “Armour or parchment of wax”. But such a violent power from whites makes blacks become vulnerable – “Fragile and fugitive when facing the burning stone” - , which, however, progressively crumbles face to the dauntless black martyrs – “like the spider web”- ; this signals Gérard Genette, Paratexts: Threshold of Interpretation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. 6 Simon Gikandi, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 98. 5 7 8 Ibid, p. 151. [“The epigraph is most often allographic, that is […] attributed to an author who is not the author of the text.” To refer to Russian Formalists.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 41 the end of a long season of affliction- “In the fog of the seasons’ end”. The significance of the fogged existence of the oppressed groups, hinted in the poem, is further disclosed by Fritz Pointer: In The Fog of the Seasons’ End suggests that, even as African people struggle for true independence and their humanity, in these final days of colour and racism, the end may appear cloudy and often obscure. Still at the end of the seasons, in the words of Dr Martin Luther King, ‘we, as a people will get to the promised land’. This is a very functional and optimistic image, one that plays a wonderful role in the thematic development of this novel.6 In this way, the meaning of the intertext is very accurate in the light of La Guma’s desire to sensitize people against the violence of racism and discrimination. The epigraph-text bears a semantic link with the themes discussed in The Fog because not only does it reinforce the message encoded in the events but it allows a better understanding of the attitudes and reactions of characters like Beukes or Elias. Finally, the extract from Conte’s poem adds to the symbolism of La Guma’s novel: The Fog deals with the determination of daring figures who strongly believe that behind the cloudy sky of South Africa lies a gleam of hope for a better future. In the same vein, the image of the “season” is used as a metaphor in the allographic epigraph that welcomes the reader in A Dry. Sharing the same motive with La Guma, Brink resolutely uses other literary elements from pre-existent works so as to remould the collective consciousness of his community, warped by arbitrary beliefs, but also to better voice his fierce determination to rehabilitate the social and political condition of his country. A Dry unfolds a poignant and realistic account of the backlashes of repressive policies on Apartheid-run South Africa. “Depicted as a massive totalitarian state with an elaborate apparatus of paid or terrorized informers and a highly organized system of torture and intimidation […] South Africa is revealed to Ben du Toit as a self-
    • 42 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction perpetuating terror machine.” 9 In this respect, in A Dry, Brink calls to Mongane Wally Serote, a black Soweto poet, to set the tone of the story through the epigraph. It has this form: It is a dry white season dark leaves don’t last, their brief lives dry out and with a broken heart they dive down gently headed for the earth not even bleeding it is a dry white season brother, only the trees know the pain as they still stand erect dry like steel, their branches dry like wire, indeed, it is a dry white season but seasons come to pass (A Dry) Like Brink and La Guma, Serote was among the most committed and undaunted artists who was spurred by a dream of equality and justice. The epigraph is woven around the metaphor of the “dry white season”, that hints at the harshness of the “seasons of apartheid”. These lines at the threshold of the novel already connote the inhuman situation generated by the racist regime in South Africa, where Non Whites like Gordon Ngubene or Jonathan do not live long because of the repressive apparatus of the government - “dark leaves don’t last, their brief lives dry out. Still, these terror policies meet the resistance of valiant black fighters who, though vulnerable, stand up firmly - “only trees know the pain as they still stand erect, dry like steel”: indeed, however dry and harsh as white racism may be, “seasons come to pass”. Therefore, the epigraph suggests the “age of iron” 10 upon Fritz Pointer, A Passion to Liberate. La Guma’s South African Images of District Six, Trenton: Africa World Press, 2001, p. 123. 7 André Brink, ( sc_madison&srch), accessed 4/20/2004. 6 10 To refer to John-Maxwell Coetzee in Age of Iron, New York: Penguin, 1990.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 43 blacks but also whites (like Ben du Toit) who are pegged as dissident. Thus, not only do the epigraphs in La Guma’s and Brink’s novels constitute another evocative way to represent life under apartheid, but they are “a text” that can help the reader better grasp the temerity of black resistants and the experiences of characters. Apart from justifying the choice of titles in both novels, they are a symbolic expression of the ideals of both prose-writers. The symbolic connotation of the paratext is much more articulated through the use of dedications in The Fog and A Dry. Analyzing this element of intertextuality urges to probe the meanings of the text through which an author dedicates to or names his work after someone or a group of people. Gérard Genette has this definition of the technique: “[…] the dedication, […] is the proclamation (sincere or not) of a relationship (of one kind or another) between the author and some person, group, or entity.” 11 In A Dry, the reader meets an “anonymous” dedication, as it relates to a person unknown to him. It reads like this: “For Alta who sustained me in the dry white season”. Certainly, the dedicatee is close to the author because, through the comment “who sustained me in the dry white season”, the reader can infer that there is a relation of compassion 12 that tied the latter to the dedicatee, Alta. Indeed, like the main figure in his novel, Brink underwent the wrath of the police of apartheid. He avers in an interview: I’ve been under constant surveillance: all my mail is opened, and my phone is tapped […] But I have been called in for interrogation, I’ve had my house searched, I’ve had notes and things seized. 11 12 Gérard Genette, Paratexts: Threshold of Interpretation, op.cit, p. 135. .Although the dedication, in this case, is “elusive and indefinite about the relationship, depending on the reader (and perhaps the dedicatee himself) to pin it down.” (Genette, Paratexts).
    • 44 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction So they certainly keep one aware of their presence. 13 In this way, the small text that meets the reader in the hall of the novel and which seems to have merely a decorative function, is, actually, knotted semantically to the events unfolded by the story. This connotative weight of the dedication is more accented in La Guma’s The Fog. Here, the dedication “To the Memory of Bazil February and others killed in action, Zimbabwe 1967”, is more than a text posted and suggesting some vague relation with the author: it works as a resounding way to expose, at the outset, the violent and grotesque nature of a system which urges resistants like Isaacs or Robert in A Dry or even Baby and Alia in Nadine Gordimer’s My Son’s Story, to go abroad and train for military action. In this way, the dedication foretells the relentless protesting actions of rebels in both novels. And the reader can progressively step into the narrative and construct its full meaning through the “lens of the paratext” and discover that the sacrifice of February recalls that of Elias in The Fog and Ben Du Toit in A Dry. Therefore, resorting to such paratextual design in The Fog and A Dry bears its relevance in the exposition of life under apartheid. It heightens the aesthetic weight of the stories and functions as a comment on the thematic line of both novels. By the relationship of solidarity and compassion it conveys, the dedication gives the reader another opportunity to appreciate, once more, the commitment of Brink and La Guma to debunk the system. As much as with the dedication, the prologue (or foreword) and the epilogue are other accurate paratextual devices that hold clues of the backlashes of racial discrimination in South Africa. These elements of transtextuality are generally favoured by writers who, at some point, feel the necessity to provide some reasons that have triggered the act of writing. Brink and La Guma also use these narrative techniques in their respective works in the view to enhancing the relevance and urgency to use their pen to indict the apparatus of coercion in their country. 13 André Brink in an interview with Jim Davidson, Overland, 94-5 (1984): 24-30.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 45 The Fog is La Guma’s only novel that opens with a prologue. It is an important and symbolical part of the story because it announces the tensed and violent events that will be unfolded in the reading process. Indeed, by exposing what can be regarded as an ideological confrontation between the Mayor (an epitome of apartheid) and the unnamed prisoner (whom the reader discovers later as Elias and symbol of the resistance wing), the prologue betokens a pathetic and thrilling story of domination and rebellion. The following exchange is an expression of the stark opposition between oppressor and oppressed: ‘I do not understand the ingratitude of your people’ [...]. ‘Look what we, our Government, have done for your people. We have given you nice jobs, houses, education. [...] We have allowed your people to get education, your own special schools, but you are not satisfied. No, you want more than what you get. (The Fog, 4) This plea of the Mayor is rebuffed by the prisoner through this averment: You want me to cooperate. You have shot my people when they have protested against unjust treatment; you have torn people from their homes, imprisoned them, not for stealing or murder, but for not having your permission to live. Our children live in rags and die of hunger. And you want me to co-operate with you? It is impossible. […] You are going torture me, may be kill me. But that is the only way you and your people can rule us. You shoot and kill and torture because you cannot rule in any other way a people who reject you. (The Fog, 5) As it can be noted, “the prologue functions to state the two ideologically divergent positions.” 14 This technique is all the more 14 Nahem Yousaf, Alex La Guma, Politics and Resistance, Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2001, p. 93.
    • 46 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction significant as the plot of The Fog is “illuminated by the theoretical justification of violence as inevitable and even desirable.” 15 In A Dry, Ben’s father-in-law too repeats, here, the same hackneyed view of whites’s ‘generosity’ towards the Non-White groups in South Africa: “Don’t you realise what the government is doing for blacks? One of these days the whole bloody lot of them will be free and independent in their own countries. And then you have the nerve to talk about injustice!” […] You give it another good think, Ben […] We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of before the eyes of the world, my boy.” (A Dry, 212) Likewise, the story in this novel opens with a foreword, a preface in which the object of the book is disseminated; it is where the reader learns that the story of Ben du Toit and his investigation on the murder of Gordon and Jonathan Ngubene by the police is related by a “he” narrative voice who is an old friend of Ben. A journalist, the anonymous narrator explains in the foreword, that he is, somewhat bound to collect and weave together the scattered threads of Ben’s story into a coherent narrative, the ultimate aim of which is to question “the well-established ethical and social values of the Afrikaners community he belongs to.” 16 The prologue reveals that Ben du Toit wanted to thwart the intention of Stolz and the other police sleuths “to wipe every sign of [him], as if [he’d] never been here.” (A Dry, 13) In fact, “throughout the apartheid years whole territories of silence were created by the nature of power structures that order the country and defined the limits of its articulated experience. Some of these silences were deliberately imposed, Balasubramanyan Chandramohan, A Study in Trans-ethnicity in Modern South Africa: The Writings of Alex La Guma, 1925-1985, Lewiston: Mellen Research University Press, 1992, p. 24. 16 Baydallaye Kane, “The Fragmented Story of a Dual Journey: Reading The Present through the Past in Andre Brink’s An Instant in the Wind”, Langues et Litteratures GELL, Saint Louis: Presses Universitaires de Saint Louis, janvier 2009, n°13. 15
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 47 whether by decree or by the operation of censorship and the security police.” 17 Faced with all the intimidating and terror-based policies of the regime, the “he” narrator has no choice but to become the voice of his friend Ben, already silenced forever by the security police; his death is summarily announced in a local newspaper and posted right on the first page of the foreword: “Johannesburg teacher killed in accident, knocked down by hit-and-run driver. Mr Ben du Toit (53) at about 11 o’clock last night, on his way to post a letter, etc. Survived by his wife, Susan, two daughters and a young son” (A Dry, 9) In this wise, what drives the most the narrator to arrange Ben’s notes into a story is drafted in the epilogue, another crucial paratextual element that accents the meaning already suggested in the prologue: “to report what I know. So that it will not be possible for any man ever to say again: I knew nothing about it” (A Dry, 316). His account works as a reveille that is meant to wake the awareness of the Afrikaner community. Everything considered, these textual threads - titles, chapter titles, prefaces, caption, notes, dedications, epigraphs, etc. - that Genette takes as “peritext” are the narrative techniques that tie the strands of the two authors’ narratives together, and they have a major effect on the interpretation of the commitment of La Guma “to restore reason to an errant humanity” 18 and that of Brink to question the wellestablished ideology of racism and change the mindset of the white community in South Africa. This engagement of both writers to make their narrative a source of hope for better forms of life, is strongly felt through the parallel and sometimes different images they draw of the smutty world of the ghetto but also of the gamut of aweinspiring policies meant to ensure the hegemony of the regime. 17 André Brink, “Reinventing a Continent (Revisiting History in the Literature of the New South Africa: A Personal Testimony)”, World Literature Today, ( 18 Samuel Omo Asein, “The Revolutionary Vision in Alex La Guma’s Novels”, Phylon, (, Accessed: 18/10/2008.
    • 48 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction 2. Snippets of Intertextuality. Roland Barthes asserts that “all in a text has already been written” 19, to suggest that there is a kind of tacit or unsaid relationships between former and recent texts or texts of the same generation. Barthes further posits that texts (as signs) do not “originate from [their authors’] own unique consciousness but from their place within linguistic cultural systems.” 20 In other words, the literary productions of writers like André Brink and Alex La Guma are cast in some socio-political background, “a larger cultural and social textuality [that of apartheid] out of which they are constructed.” 21 In this way, A Dry and The Fog echo the South African society’s “dialogic conflict over the meanings of words.” 22 The two novels bear intertextual interconnectedness and their “language inevitably contains common [and divergent] points of reference” 23 in the multifaceted representation they make of the “invisible ubiquitous power” of apartheid (A Dry, 237), of the humdrum and violent world of the ghetto, and, above all, of police brutality over non-white communities. A major theme in Brink’s and La Guma’s writing is the description of the dramatic and corrosive transformation of their country by the implementation of racist policies, the many-sided impacts of which are exposed under different narrative perspectives. In A Dry, by progressively unwrapping the insidious activities of the clique in power, Ben du Toit, notwithstanding the opposition of his family and class, and regardless of the police’s mischievous actions, discovers the conditions of the assassination of Gordon and 19 Roland Barthes, quoted by Graham Allen, Intertextuality, London: Routledge, 2000. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid., p. 36. 22 Mikhaïl Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, Austin: Texas University press, 1981, p. 36. 23 Ross Murfin & Supryia M. Ray, The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, Boston: Bedford Books, 1998, p. 176.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 49 Jonathan. In the same vein, he meets the real face of the political system which runs his country, the brutality of its agents motivated and sustained by the unjust and biased views they had hitherto of the ‘other’. In the following lines, Ben muses over the implications of this dialectics of “the self” and “the other” in the colonial context: “My people”. And then there the “others”. The Jewish shopkeeper; the English chemist; […] And the Blacks. The boys who tended the sheep with me, and yet were different. We lived in a house, they in mud huts with rocks on the roof. […] But it remains a matter of “us” and “them”. […] But suddenly it is no longer adequate, it no longer works. [...] I stood on my knees beside the coffin of a friend. I spoke to a woman morning in a kitchen. […] And that mourning had been caused by “my people.” […] What had happened before that drought has never been particularly vivid or significant to me: that was where I first discover myself and the world. And it seems to me I’m finding myself on the edge of yet another dry white season, perhaps worse that the one I knew as a child. What now? (A Dry, 163) This journey of the protagonist into “the other” and back to “the self” (which will be illustrated later) allows him to reconsider his own “self”. In this quotation, we have an “I” narration mode, through which Ben exposes the realities of cultural/racial differences. Let us specify that the narrative design of A Dry is made up of a patching of official documents (statement of the witnesses at the inquest into Gordon’s death), the account of events and of Ben’s personal notes, which obscures the presence of the author. This frequent shift in the narrative voice is an effective way to expose the turmoil of Brink’s protagonist caused by police harassment. In the extract from the story, the “he” narrator lets the floor to Ben who engages in a deriding judgement of his community’s action towards blacks and the country, in the framework of apartheid. From the outset, the protagonist accents the strife that set racial groups apart: “My people” and “the “other.” The denigration and the
    • 50 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction rejection of blacks (the “other”) is further implied in the short nominal sentence, “And the Blacks.” The sharp and striking aspect of this sentence serves as a strong way to suggest the racial strife that exists between whites and other groups and the dramatic plight of the latter that are at the receiving end of racism. In this way, along with Ben, the reader can feel, through the lexical and structural shape of the passage, that blacks are the most oppressed and trodden down part of the community, an exploitation that is not only based on race but is “actually shaped by perceptions of religious, linguistic, national, sexual and class differences.” 24 Blacks or “the boys” have been tightly bound by a racist system which demands that they always be the lackeys of whites. Such a situation fortifies and reveals the true nature of the apartheid power structure. The death of “his friend” stirs the awareness of the character who realizes that his “own people” are the root cause of a “dry white season” which is daily smothering the “other”. In fact, the technique of mise en abyme 25 is highly relevant in the passage because it further highlights the seriousness of the plight of South Africans but also it shows that the country itself was weighing down under such a corrosive and foggy atmosphere. Likewise, Alex La Guma is highly preoccupied by unveiling the perilous policies set up by the political machine. In a descriptive style, his narrators, in all his novels, have a religious patience in detailing the social trauma bred by racial discrimination. Like And A Threefold Cord, or even The Stone Country, The Fog combines irony and satire to debunk apartheid. In the following passage, we have a narrative voice, somewhat close to the author, who doesn’t hesitate to deride the sham domination of whites over blacks. It reads: When African people turn sixteen they are born again or, even worse, they are accepted into the Ania Loomba, Colonialism/Postcolonialism, New York: Routledge, 1998, p. 122 25 It is a narrative technique that designates the embedding of a text into another. In the quotation, the device consists in repeating the title of the novel into a part of the story, which is another way of highlighting the horrendous policies of apartheid. 24
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 51 mysteries of the Devil’s mass, confirmed into the Blood rites of a servitude as cruel as Caligula, as merciless as Nero. Its bonds are the entangled chains of infinite regulators, its rivets are driven in with rubber stamps, and the scratchy pens in the offices of the Native commissioners are like branding irons which leaves scars for life. (The Fog, 80) The passage, wrapped up in an ironical and metaphorical language, demonstrates how a totalitarian regime such as South African apartheid, functions as the “Devil” in its policies. In this way, it unfolds the multiple laws and regulations that constitute its backbone but more, the numerous “permissions” that must be granted to Nonwhites in order “to exist”. All these sundry rules and permissions “the permission to be in this place; the permission to travel”- that cordon off the daily life of people from the ghetto are, indeed, “irons which leave scars for life.” The image of “iron” is very telling of the violence meted out to blacks and coloureds: it echoes the drought and whiteness of the season that afflicts local communities in Brink’s novel. The whiteness of the season symbolises death, the whiteness of the skeletons of the animals killed by the drought (apartheid). Coetzee’s protagonist, Mrs Curren, in Age of Iron describes the season as: “the age of iron”. She says: “What, after all, gave birth to the age of iron but the age of granite? […] Are there not still white zealot preaching the old regime of discipline, work, obedience, self-sacrifice, a regime of death, to children some too young to tie their own shoelaces? What a nightmare from beginning to end!” 26 Therefore, the drama of such an insidious and rampant power lies in the fact that it not only corrodes the lives of Non Whites but more, it destroys totally those of its upholders to a point that life in South Africa is “so much like life aboard a sinking ship, one of those old-time liners with a lugubrious, drunken captain and a surly crew and leaky lifeboats.” 27 Isaacs, a resistant in The 26 John-Maxwell Coetzee, op.cit, pp. 50-51. 27 Ibid, p. 22-23.
    • 52 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction Fog, feels “almost sorry for these people who believed themselves to be the Master Race, to have the monopoly of brains, yet who were vindictive, selfish and cruel.” (The Fog, 115).That is what spurs Diala to write that “the dissident writer’s crucial responsibility is significantly not merely the political liberation of blacks but the redemption of the Afrikaner from the ideology of the apartheid.” 28 This “deranged, divided age”(A Dry, 196), this “political doctrine of separate existence, a doctrine which has no parallel in any other country of the world” 29, deeply affects and afflicts characters like Beukes, Elias or Ben who sadly realize that the upholders of the racist regime have largely succeeded in causing strife between members of the oppressed community. In A Dry, Ben, in a moving and metaphysical approach, ponders over the inhuman social relationships generated by policies of separation. We read in one of his journal extracts: Whether I like it or not, whether I feel like cursing my own condition or not – and that would only serve to confirm my impotence – I am white. This is the small, final, terrifying truth of my broken world. I am white. And because I am white I am born into a state of privilege. Even if I fight the system that has reduced us to this I remain white, and favoured by the very circumstances I abhor. Even if I’m hated and ostracised, and persecuted, and in the end destroyed, nothing can make me black. And so those who are cannot but remain suspicious of me. In their eyes my very efforts to identify myself with Gordon, with all Gordons, would be obscene. (A Dry, 304) 28 Isidore Diala, “André Brink and Malraux” Contemporary Literature, Spring 2006, 47:1 (, accessed 03/01/2001. 29 Alan Paton, Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful, Harmonds worth: Penguin Books, 1983, p. 30.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 53 These pathetic words of Ben are expressive of the trauma that can result from a well thought-out and law-backed up power like apartheid, a power which calcifies tribal/racial divides, a power in which groups each “excludes the other, distrusts the other, fears the other, and hates the other.” 30 Indeed, in Foucault’s view, power “manifests itself not in a downward flow from the top of the social hierarchy to those below but extends itself in a capillary fashion – it is part of daily action, speech and everyday life” 31 of South Africa. Actually, one fundamental feature of such a barren regime is the degradation and impoverishment of the characters’ social framework. Brink and La Guma, through their novels, are adamant to unveil the filthy and dangerous nature of the ghetto. In this way, detailed and realistic representations of space loom large in The Fog and A Dry. This can be easily understood if we consider that: The aim of the realistic writer is constant: to write, with respect to the valid norms of his time, more veraciously and to put reality more directly into words than his predecessors have done. […] A concrete historical situation, a datable and locatable frame are conditions for the realization of realism. 32 If it is a truism that La Guma and Brink refer to “a concrete historical situation” (apartheid), it is nonetheless an enthralling enterprise to analyse how both writers “veraciously” draw out ghastly images of the ghetto. In The Fog and A Dry, the similarities in the representation of the world of the oppressed are under two forms: first what can be referred to as a focalized or rolling description and second, a sensorial depiction of space. 30 André Brink, “On culture and Apartheid”, Mapmakers, op.cit, p. 82. 31 Michel Foucault, quoted by Ania Loomba, op.cit, p. 50. 32 Mineke Schipper, “Toward a definition of Realism in the African Context”, ( Accessed Spring 1985, 16:3, 10/05/2010
    • 54 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction The focalized representation infers that the reader perceives the rotten social framework of the story through a character. But this, according to Philippe Hamon, means that the latter will be placed in the conditions to perceive things and events. Hamon writes: “Il s’agit de faire en sorte que l’action conduise le personnage à observer un objet, à le décrire pour autrui ou s’en servir. Ce procédé est particulièrement fréquent dans la littérature réaliste. » 33 The mechanism of this process of feeling and transmitting some part of the story is further explained by Eric le Calvez: Le regard du personnage établit une conjonction temporelle entre description et récit, car non seulement le cours du récit n’est pas interrompu brutalement, […], mais de plus une diachronie interne est réintégrée, correspondant à la durée de l’acte contemplatif. 34 [The look of the character establishes a temporal conjunction between description and narration, because the flow of the narration is not abruptly interrupted, and more, an internal diachrony is reintegrated, which corresponds to the duration of the contemplative act.] In the focalised depiction of the ghetto space in both novels, the reader does not feel an abrupt break in the temporality, the narration of events and the description of some dirty areas. This excerpt from The Fog showing Beukes in a taxi is a telling example: They [Beukes and the taxi driver] are in the main street of a ghost town. Along the shadowy pavements under the old iron and wood 33 Philippe Hamon, « un discours contraint », Littérature et réalité, ed. Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1982, p. 64. [The point is to bring a character to observe an object, to describe it for the reader or use it. Such a technique is recurrent in realistic literature.] 34 Eric Le Calvez, « La description focalisée », Poétique, Paris : Editions du Seuil, novembre 1996, n°108, p. 405.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 55 balconies shop windows, boarded up when their owners had abandoned trade in the wake of the general exodus, stared with blinded eyes out into the grimy, sunlit, thoroughfare. The shopping crowds of the past had dwindled noticeably and now people moved along the sidewalks, past the rows of shabby shopfronts, like the survivors of a holocaust. (The Fog) The comparative and metaphorical designs of this segment (respectively “like the survivors of a holocaust” and “a ghost town”) are of lifeblood in the denunciation of the overall destitution of the physical surroundings. Indeed, the reader can feel the decayed milieu through the “eyes” of Beukes. The latter, going to his friend Tommy’s, is the pretext or the “motivating” drive of the scene. The degradation of the characters’ environment is so widespread that the narrator resorts to adjectives - “shadowy pavements”; “grimy thoroughfare” - as connotative clues. Using a focalized representation is very relevant here because it is, actually, a strong way for the narrator to justify the importance of the resistance and, in the same way, to reinforce Beukes in his engagement to do away with the foul regime. That is the reason why, in the novels of Alex La Guma, narration and description join forces in the thorny task of exposing the general and generalized horror bred by racial discrimination. André Brink takes almost the same aesthetic path as La Guma. His text is fraught with focalized descriptions and many other devices meant to beautifully express the ghastly backlashes of racial discrimination on the day-to-day life of characters. Here is a relevant illustration: Stanley glanced at him as they slammed the car doors shut, but said nothing. The car pulled off again, following once more an intricate route through patterns of identical houses, as if they were passing the same ones over and over again. Brickwalls covered in slogans. Peeling billboards. Boys playing ball-games. The barbers. The wrecks
    • 56 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction and the charred buildings. Chicken. Rubbish heaps. (A Dry, 92) The reader finds, in these lines, a rolling or ambulatory description of the road towards the inner city where Ben and Stanley are heading to, a space marked by a row of identical and shabby houses. The particularity of this sequence, compared to the one from The Fog, lies in the structural design; it is organized around successive short nominal sentences that offer a sequential picture of diverse parts of the disintegrated physical surroundings. Such a representation allows the reader “to look”, at the same time as Ben, at the areas the two characters pass by on their way. This stylistic option adds vividness to the tableau because it is articulated around the perspective of Ben and also because it helps the reader realizes how shocked the latter is by the discovery of this “other world”. Therefore, with a structure built around “the ability to look” (to refer to Hamon) of Ben, the passage further draws the stark difference that exists between Ben’s self environment and that of the “others”, where life seems impossible. Such an allegorical image of the dilapidated social atmosphere of the ghetto is acutely dealt with by Nadine Gordimer through these words of Toby, the protagonist in A World of Strangers: By contrast an African township looked like something that had been rased almost to the ground. The mass of houses and shacks were so low and crowded together that the people seemed to be swarming over them as if they had just invaded a deserted settlement. Everytime I went to a township I was aware of this sudden drop in the horizon of buildings and rise of humans; nothing concealed, nothing sheltered – in any but the most obvious sense – any moment of the people’s lives. 35 35 Nadine Gordimer, A World of Strangers, New York: Penguin Books, 1984, p. 130.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 57 In both The Fog and A Dry, the ambulatory or rolling description of landscape and social environment constitutes a momentous feature of the realistic approach used by the authors to put the apartheid reality into words. This urges Brian Bunting, prefacing one of La Guma’s novels, A Threefold Cord, to hold that the South African writer […] knew and understood the people and their problems, their ‘troubles’, as they call them, and he wrote of them with intimacy and care […] It is the very completeness of his knowledge and understanding of his milieu that gives Alex La Guma’s prose its incisive bite. 36 Beside the focalized or ambulatory representation of the characters’ space, “sensorial” descriptions take centre-stage in the aesthetic framing of both novels. Indeed, part of the author’s realism consists of a strong appeal to some figures’ sensory organs. Instances occur at almost every step of the narrative in The Fog and A Dry. One is when Ben journeys, for the first time, with Stanley into the grimy and desecrated unknown world of the ghetto. The narrator reports: Ben turned his window down a few inches. An oppressive smell of smoke drifted into the car. The awareness of disembodied sound grew overpowering. And once again, but more intensely than before, he had the feeling of being inside an enormous animal body with intestines rumbling, a dark heart beating, muscles contracting and relaxing, glands secreting their fluids. […] Never before had he experienced so acutely the total isolation of their respective worlds, and the fact that only through the two of them those words were allowed to touch briefly and provisionally. (A Dry, 170-1) 36 Brian Bunting, Preface to A Threefold Cord, London: Kilptown Book, 1988, p. iii.
    • 58 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction This passage constitutes a veracious expression of the unbearable living conditions in South Africa. Actually, by highlighting the reek that assaults Ben - the smell of poverty and want - the narrator further points at the huge gap that separates the two worlds. Leaning on Ben’s perspective - prompted by his action of opening the window - the sensorial description of the physical surroundings is a resounding way for Brink to make his community aware of the extent to which the racist policies implemented by the government have eroded the existence of marginalized groups and have, indirectly, dehumanized whites. Another example very expressive of sensorial representation of intimate and external space is contained in this part of the story where Ben visits Emily, Gordon’s widow: They [Stanley & Ben] knocked. […] Emily opened immediately, [...]. There was only one gas lamp burning inside, and the corners of the small front room were in semi-darkness. Against the far wall a few children were sleeping under a grey blanket, small bundles close together, like loaves of bread set out to raise. [...]. A vase filled with plastic flowers. The floral curtains drawn. There was a smoky stuffiness inside, aggravated by a stale smell of bodies. (A Dry, 172) This excerpt presents almost the same syntactic framing as the previous one: with short nominal sentences, combined with an evocative adjectival regime (of the smell and destitution), that are in line with the movement of Ben’s eyes. This focalized description that is focused on the sensory image - “There was a smoky stuffiness inside, aggravated by a stale smell of bodies” - is a way for the narrator to arouse the consciousness of the character. In other words, such a journey into the intimacy of the hitherto unknown “other” and his dilapidated world reinforces Ben in his determination to bear the brunt of family and police pressure. The aesthetic choice to present the characters’ environment through olfactory references runs through the narrative of Alex La
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 59 Guma, especially in The Fog. One telling example is found in these lines: At that time there were tin shanties everywhere, he thought. [...] Coming back from the town, the smell of rot and stagnant water had been overpowering, but later one had got used to it, to the puddles of dirty water, the mess left by children and animals dotting the pathways like mines in a minefield. Poverty had enveloped the whole scene in a tattered and smelly cloak of rust, decay and destitution. (The Fog, 122) The same descriptive style that encodes the story in Brink’s novel is also found in this extract from The Fog. Both quotations heavily rely on the reader’s olfactory and other sensory organs to render the generalized squalor that is a main feature of the social environment. But while the narrator in A Dry seems to favour a staccato phrasal structure, La Guma’s text is rather framed with enumerative sentences which expose in detail the rotten and filthy atmosphere. To further demonstrate such situation the narrative voice makes use of comparison - “like a sore or a boil” - and personification - “just stretch of slum clinging to the edge of the town” - which are another eloquent and beautified expression of the fetid surroundings to which the inhabitants finally get “used to.” In this way, both writers draw out horrendous and realistic images of the decayed existence of the marginalized groups under apartheid. Sensorial or focalized representations of the characters’ internal and external environment is one aesthetic clue which tie the strands of Brink’s and La Guma’s narratives together, but also that of many South African writers, conscious that political commitment can bring forth a redefinition of interracial relationships, and a new social contract. However, this is no easy task because writers like Brink and La Guma were subject to censorship, enhanced, with an iron hand, by a ubiquitous police force. In his article “After Soweto”, Brink describes the apartheid police system in these words: “The Security Police is ever alert to suppress or inhibit the truth. Often the
    • 60 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction persecution is brutal and overt. More often it is subtle and destructive on a less exposed level.” 37 In one interview with Cecil Abrahams 38, La Guma admits that the question of the police was bound to be an integral part of his fictional output, and this is in line with the life-size weight of this crucial branch of the system in the story and textual space. A repressive justice is the bedrock of any totalitarian regime. And the political situation in South Africa is no exception. Indeed, the Security police are at the core of the terror machine that sees to the stifling of any dissident individual or movement. South Africa is, La Guma upholds, ‘a police state” (The Fog, 24). The Fog and A Dry bear some similarities and some particularities in the thematic and textual representation of the police officers and their torturing methods, but also of the victims’ reactions. In The Fog, the police agents are the pillars of the vileness of the regime; they terrorize characters who, like Beukes, are panicstricken whenever in front of policemen. During one of his night rounds, Beukes has this reaction when he sees the police: Beukes cursed under his breath. In a clearing stood two big police trucks and already there were people crowded behind the wire mesh of one of them […] Beukes turned immediately and made his way back. His heart beat a little pronouncedly. People who were not white – even the criminally innocent – always reacted that way. There were a hundred and one crimes one might have committed without knowledge. Palpitations of the heart had become a national disease. (The Fog, 64) These “palpitations of the heart” are kept up by such policemen as Sergent Van Zyl and Grobbelaar, but also Raalt in A Walk in the 37 André Brink, “After Soweto”, in Mapmakers, op.cit, p.153. 38 Cecil Abrahams, Alex La Guma, Boston: Twayne, 1985.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 61 Night 39, or even Captain Joll in Waiting for the Barbarians, through whom the violence of the Nationalist exploitative regime comes to a head. The evil forces are responsible for the intimidation, nighttime raids, torture and, ultimately, the murder of dissidents. The reader first meets the two police officers in the prologue, as anonymous figures, holding a prisoner. The presence of Sergent Van Zyl and Grobbelaar haunts the story until when a plain description of them is provided in their favoured activity: torture. In these lines, the narrator graphically expresses their brutality set against the dauntless prisoner, Elias, who refuses to cave in their demands: Pain was like a devil which had usurped his body. It was wrenching in his wrist and hands and the sockets of his shoulders as he dangled with all the weight on the handcuffs that shackled him to the staple in the wall. It was his body battered and bruised by the pistol barrel, and in his legs, his skinned shins, which would not hold his weight. There was a taste of pain in his mouth where blood had replaced saliva. […] They each took him under the arms and he was paddled up to the door, out of the room, stumbling, trying to use his legs, grasping with the pain in them, stumbling and flopping like a doll all the way to another room. (The Fog, 169-170) This thorough description of the pain of Elias lays bare the savagery of the torturous practices heaped on him. This minute representation is sometimes wrapped in a metaphorical style. Unlike in A Dry where the depiction of police violence upon Jonathan and Gordon is indirectly reported (through Seroke) to the reader, La Guma’s scenic approach is much more vivid and it catches the reader’s attention. The ultimate aim is to convince the latter of the unspeakable brutality of the police in South Africa. Such a detailed exposition is better felt in the depiction of the eyes (face) of the 39 Alex La Guma, A Walk in the Night and Other Stories, London: Heinemann, 1968.
    • 62 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction torturers. Indeed, under the perspective of Elias, the reader has a glimpse of the inhumanity that is oozing from the eyes of those that prey upon him: Elias looked at them, seeing them hazily far away, and saw that they were like rags from which all the water of humanity had been squeezed […] The young one stared at Elias with eyes that were now flat and expressionless as a reptile’s. (The Fog, 170-171) La Guma’s literary output, but also Brink’s novels to some extent, is glutted with such aesthetic turns that focus on the eyes as an expression of the inner nature of some protagonists. In A Dry, the narrator probes into the atrocious nature of the system through this representation of the look of Stolz: You can not restrain yourself from turning to look. He is still standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame, the orange moving up and down in a slow mechanical rhythm, his eyes cool and frank, as if he hasn’t looked away for a second. Strangely dark eyes for such a pale face. The thin white line of a scar on his cheek. And all of a sudden you know. You’s better memorize the name. Captain Stolz. His presence is not fortuitous. He has a role to play; and you will see him again. (A Dry, 60) The same technique is used here: the eyes of Stolz are a basic element of his characterization. However, the expression of the face of the character is further expressed by the not signalled direct narration of the thought of Ben, - “Strangely dark eyes for such a pale face” -, a nominal structure that heightens the drama of the passage. Here is Ben introduced to the police agent through the stern face and the frozen look of the latter. Consequently, he can realize that Stolz is a crucial link in the repressive chain elaborated by the police system. Ben is right to think that his presence is not “fortuitous” because he is the one whose sacred mission will be to intimidate and sway Ben away from his perilous quest for truth. But
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 63 this is without the courageous Ben who, in spite of a constant harassment, keeps on gathering evidence of the guilt of the system. In this way, throughout the story, Stolz and his ilk work out their determination to stifle any action that is meant to expose the part played by the police in the murder of Jonathan and Gordon but also in that of the rebellious children of Soweto. Therefore, they carry out insidious and underhand doings to undermine Ben’s morale and preserve the integrity of their nation. Cases of persecutions, as the following, abound in the story: A new wave of anonymous call, another vandalistic attack on his car, the entire front wall of his home sprayed with slogans, coarse insults on his blackboard, at night the sound of footsteps going round the house. [...] And whenever nothing specific was happening there was the gnawing awareness of that invisible and shapeless power pursuing him. (A Dry, 261-2) Like the Magistrate in Waiting for the Barbarians, Ben is socially alienated, his family and community charging him with betrayal to the Afrikaner cause. These lines demonstrate, once more, how the police manage to transform Ben into a hermit in the eyes of “his own people.” Indeed, he is permanently subject to police attack and such a relentless persecution is suggested by the long asyndetically framed sentence – “A new wave of anonymous call, another vandalistic attack on his car, the entire front wall of his home sprayed with slogans, coarse insults on his blackboard, at night the sound of footsteps going round the house”. This aesthetic turn suggests that the sleuths are totally devoted to fighting to the last drop of blood the enemies of the nation. A more striking expression of police violence is found in this passage from The Fog: Then for some reason or another, a policeman shot into the noise. […] The firing burst out again like a roll of metal-skinned drums. From the front of the Police Station, from the groups around the trucks, from the turret of the armoured car, the shiny brass cylinders of spent ammunition leaped
    • 64 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction and cascaded for a moment in deadly ejaculations and then stopped. (The Fog, 104) The violence of the firing is not only hinted at in the set of sentences but more, in the lexical field and tone of the sequence. In fact, the comparing structure - “a roll of metal-skinned drums” -, the anaphora - “from the front of the Police Station, from the groups around the trucks, from the turret of the armoured car” -, combined with the metaphorical image, - “deadly ejaculations” - suggest the extreme rapidity and savagery of the police forces upon the demonstrators. Thus, the South African regime and its repressive apparatus, “shoot people as if they are waste, but in the end it is [them] whose lives are not worth living” 40, Coetzee’s heroin says in Age of Iron. And the “sin of power”, in La Guma’s country, is “not only to distort reality but to convince people that the false is true, and that what is happening is only an invention of enemies” 41, like Ben, who is finally killed by Stolz and his clique, as he keeps on refusing to yield under the latter’s pressure. Conclusion Both Brink and La Guma have expressed their discontent and loadstars about the racism and discrimination that have eroded the rainbow nation. Like many of his protagonists, La Guma was totally committed to “run guns and to hold up radio stations, because in South Africa that is what [they] are faced with, whether [they] are writers, or whether [they] are common laborers.” 42 Likewise, Brink’s “obsessive theme is not merely apartheid. It is the mortal condition, 40 John-Maxwell Coetzee, Age of Iron, op.cit, p. 104. 41 Arthur Miller, “The Sin of Power”, quoted by André Brink in Mapmakers, op.cit, p.173. 42 Alex La Guma, quoted by Kathleen Balutansky, in The Novels of Alex La Guma. The representation of a Political Conflict, Colorado: Three Continents press, 1990, p.1.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 65 and the terror of apartheid’s metamorphosis into destiny.” 43 Like Ben, Brink is totally devoted to searching and mapping out his truth, a search which might end up in failure, but it is going to be failure that can affirm his humanity, redeems him 44 and alerts the consciousness of his own people. Through what can be branded a “transethnic characterization” 45, both writers have been unwavering in their effort to debunk the ideological and repressive apparatuses of apartheid. Brink and La Guma knew that “the writer is in fact an organ developed by society to respond to its need for meaning.” 46 They live up to this mission. In this way, bits and pieces of the racist regime and the social tensions of the time reverberate in their texts 47. A Dry and The Fog are deeply cast in the apartheid cultural and social framework, the realities of which they have exposed from different aesthetic perspectives. The transtextual analysis of both novels has shown that the narrators turn to other texts, under various approaches, to disseminate the encoded message of commitment and hope of Brink and La Guma, through “texts” put at the threshold of their respective works. These narrative devices set the novels in the African literary tradition. The epigraphs and prologue/epilogue, Isidore Diala, “André Brink and the Implications of Tragedy for Apartheid South Africa”, Journal of Southern African Studies, Dec 2003, 29:4. ( Accessed: 03/01/2011. 44 Ibid. 43 45 This is to refer to the teaming up of figures from different racial or social backgrounds who become bedfellows in the struggle against racial discrimination and arbitrary rule. We have Ben/Stanley/Melanie in A Dry; Beukes/Elias/ Henry April in The Fog; but also Mrs Curren and Vercueil in Age of Iron; finally, Hannah x and Kahapa in The Other Side of Silence. This is an ultimate call for a raceblind society. John Maxwell Coetzee, “André Brink and The Censor”, Research in African Literatures, Antumn 1990, 21:3 ( 47 To paraphrase Roland Barthes. 46
    • 66 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction combined with the intertextual representations they made of the implementation and drawbacks of the regime on the lives and physical environment of characters, are another beautified expression of the horrendous nature of the system. Thus through their multicoloured accounts, A Dry and The Fog constitute a resounding multivoiced plea for the establishment of a race-blind society. Works Cited Abrahams, Cecil. Alex La Guma. Boston: Twayne, 1985. Allen, Graham. Intertextuality. London: Routledge, 2000. Asein, Samuel Omo. “The Revolutionary Vision in Alex La Guma’s Novels”. Phylon. Accessed: 18/10/2008. Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981. Balasubramanyan, Chandramohan, A Study in Trans-ethnicity in Modern South Africa: The Writings of Alex La Guma, 19251985. Lewiston: Mellen Research University Press, 1992. Brink, André. A Dry White Season. New York: Penguin, 1984. ----“Writers and Writing in the World”, Mapmakers: Writing in a State of Siege: Essays on Politics and Literature. New York: Summit Books, 1983. ---- “Reinventing a Continent (Revisiting History in the Literature of the New South Africa: A Personal Testimony)”, World Literature Today. Accessed 10/07/2011. Bunting, Brian. Preface to A Threefold Cord. London: Kilptown Book, 1988 Coetzee, John-Maxwell. Age of Iron. New York: Penguin, 1990. ---- “André Brink and The Censor”. Research in African Literatures. Antumn 1990, 21:3 ( ----Waiting for the Barbarians. London: Penguin, 1982.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 67 Davidson, Jim. An interview with André Brink, Overland, 94-5 (1984): 24-30. Diala, Isidore. “André Brink and Malraux”, Contemporary Literature. Spring 2006, 47:1( Accessed 03/01/2001. ---- “André Brink and the Implications of Tragedy for Apartheid South Africa.” Journal of Southern African Studies. Dec 2003, 29:4 ( Accessed: 03/01/2011. Genette, Gérard. Paratexts: Threshold of Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. ---- Palimpsestes : la littérature au second degré. Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1982. Gikandi, Simon. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Gordimer, Nadine. My Son’s Story. London: Penguin Books, 1990. ---- A World of Strangers. New York: Penguin Books, 1984. . Hamon, Philippe. « Un discours contraint », Littérature et réalité, ed. Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1982. Kane, Baydallaye. “The Fragmented Story of a Dual Journey: reading The Present through the Past in Andre Brink’s An Instant in the Wind”, Groupe d’Etudes en Langues et Littératures, GELL. Saint Louis: Presses Universitaires de Saint Louis, janvier 2009, n°13. La Guma, Alex. In the Fog of the Seasons’ End. London: Heinemann, 1972 ----A Walk in the Night and Other Stories. London: Heinemann, 1968. Le Calvez, Eric. « La description focalisée », Poétique. Paris : Editions du Seuil, novembre 1996, n°108. Loombia, Ania. Colonialism/Postcolonialism. New York: Routledge, 1998. Murfin, Ross & Supryia M. Ray, The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Boston: Bedford Books, 1998.
    • 68 K. Diallo: Transtextuality in Laguma’s and Brink’s fiction Paton, Alan. Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful. Harmonds worth: Penguin Books, 1983. Pointer, Fritz. A Passion to Liberate. La Guma’s South African Images of District Six. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2001. Schipper, Mineke. “Toward a definition of Realism in the African Context”, Spring 1985, 16:3 ( Accessed 10/05/2010. Yousaf, Nahem. Alex La Guma, Politics and Resistance. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2001.
    • Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 “Cane is Bitter”: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History Julia UDOFIA* Abstract Sugar cane-cultivation is central to the history of the Caribbean. Following Columbus’s discovery that the gold supply from the West Indies was exhaustible, his attention turned to the commercial cultivation of sugar cane which then was of great economic potential in the world market. The cultivation of cane was tedious and expensive. Negro slavery, therefore, provided easily available and replaceable, unskilled labour. Under slavery, the humanity of the blacks was almost completely eroded. This inhumane system of slavery, coupled with the cultural and racial plurality found in the West Indies had far-reaching influences on the Caribbean psyche, which are difficult to eradicate even in the twenty-first century. And so, cane is bitter because it caused the uprootment and dispossession of millions of people from their homelands for servitude in the West Indies. Cane is bitter because it has destined them to a life of hard toil, dependence, ignorance, illiteracy, poverty and subservience. This subject which is explored in many Caribbean literary writings is, therefore, examined in this paper. Introduction Colonialism and cane-cultivation can, to a large extent, be said to symbolize the history of the Caribbean which begins abruptly with the “discovery” of the Bahamas in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Initially, Columbus thought that there was an inexhaustible supply of gold to be obtained from the West Indies. Later, it was discovered that the gold supply was finite and * Ph. D Department of English, Lagos State University Ojo, Lagos.
    • 70 Julia Udofia: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History the colonizer’s attention turned to the large-scale cultivation of sugar cane which was then a highly lucrative crop. The cultivation of cane was highly capital-and-labourintensive. The more sophisticated and efficient machines for extracting sugar were expensive and the crop itself was highly perishable, which meant that it had to be processed shortly after harvesting. Also, the planting and harvesting of cane required considerable labour and the manufacturing process was arduous. The production of sugar on an economic basis, therefore, required a considerable initial financial outlay and a large cheap labour force. Negro slavery provided easily available and replaceable unskilled labour. Under slavery, the humanity of the blacks was progressively eroded, especially, with the arduous work hours, stringent penalties for absenteeism and the promulgation of slave codes which gave legal sanction to slavery. These codes deprived slaves of the freedom of movement or the simplest exercise of their freewill. For instance, they could not marry without their masters’ permission, they could not own property, they were considered to be moveable property and could be punished even unto death by their masters. This brutally indifferent method of slavery, coupled with the racial and cultural diversity found in the West Indies and the displacement and dispossession experienced by the African slaves helped to rob the negroes of a sense of historical continuity and emphasized the lack of control over their lives. It also gave rise to such psychological traumas as alienation, rootlessness, feelings of inferiority and the creation of the colonial mentality. However, with the abolition of slavery and the vacuum created in the labour force, many Indians migrated to the West Indies as indentured labourers. This introduced new racial, linguistic and cultural complications into the already diversified West Indian society. The cultivation of cane was thus, the basic reason for the institution of slavery and had important influences on the Caribbean psyche, such as the engendering and nurturing of inter-colonial rivalry and the isolationist outlook, and an endemic and crippling sense of provincialism, all of which are difficult to eradicate from the twenty-first century Caribbean mentality.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 71 And so, cane is bitter because it was what brought about the uprootment of millions of people – black and Indian – alike from thousands of miles of ocean for servitude in the West Indies, and long after slavery was abolished, their fortunes remained tied to the whims and caprices of the white men who ran the sugar cane estates on which they worked. Cane is bitter because it has destined them to a life of hard toil, poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, subservience and dependence. This phenomenon which is depicted in many Caribbean literary texts is, therefore, the subject of study in this paper. “Cane is Bitter”: Its Depiction in Literary Texts In his poem entitled, “Homestead” (1967), E. W. Roach bemoans: The man is dead but I recall Him in my voluntary song His life was unadorned as bread He reckoned weathers in his head And wore their ages on his face…. And every furrow of the earth And every wind-blown blade of grass Knows him the spirit of the place…. We were enslaved in the ancestral cane We’re trapped in our inheritance of lust, The brown boot scorns the black…. (22 – 23) The above lines not only allude to the hard toil and bitter servitude associated with cane, but also laments the tragic fate of the cane labourer, who, after slaving himself out without commensurate remuneration is often abandoned to die. That is why the poet asks: Is labour lovely for a man That drags him daily into earth Returns no fragrance of him forth…. (23) In The Plains of Caroni (Selvon, 1970), and the symbolically titled short story, “Cane is Bitter” (Selvon, 1979), the harshness of cane is, again, in focus. But, cane, apart from emphasizing the dependent status of the peasants, also diminishes them physically.
    • 72 Julia Udofia: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History In the short story, we learn that Ramlal used to be handsome but that “work in the fields had not only tanned his skin to a deep brown but actually changed his features” (60). Similarly, Rookmin was strong and could not be considered ugly but “hardwork… had taken a toll. Her hands were wrinkled and callous. The toes of her feet were spread from walking without any footwear whatsoever” (60-61). The limiting influence of cane is also seen in the peasants’ total dependence on cane. These are people who have never left the village nor known any other way of life than that in the cane fields. This makes them not only myopic and fearful of progress and change but also reactionary, for instance, the old man in The Plains of Caroni (1970) is vehemently opposed to the introduction of a combine harvesting machine into the plantation village where he works. This, to him will not only make the rich richer, but will further impoverish them. So, he takes his avenging sugar cane cutlass and destroys the harvester. Cane is also the title of Jean Toomer’s novel (1975) and its destructive potential is evident in the material poverty and almost hopeless lives of the characters – most of whom are blacks – that we find in the novel. Cane is the metaphor that explains their presence in America: Karintha, Dan Moore, Carrie K., Barlo, Carma, Fern, Esther, Rhobert and Avey are all descendants of black slaves and inhabit the Southland part of America, the second home of most Africans transported as slaves to America. Their near-tragic lives which stem largely from their racial origin is symbolized by cane, hence, Toomer’s title, “Cane”. In “Ruins of a Great House”, by Derek Walcott (1965), the exploitation and deprivation associated with cane is also explored. While the white master built no schools, libraries or enduring monuments of their existence in the West Indies, the “great house” depicts the opulence in which they lived with slaves toiling for them. Words such as “disjecta membra”, “dismembered empty shelves”, etc., reflect the aura of decay which now characterizes the great house, while phrases like “the leprosy of an empire” (34) conjure up images of a diseased world which tainted the quality of life of the negro in the New World. The magnificence of this house was built on the pain and blood of slaves and its beauty was
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 73 founded on brutality and evil. Walcott shows that there was a lack of visible achievement which marked this period, which, perhaps, makes Naipaul ask: How can the history of this West Indian futility be written...? The history of the Islands can never be satisfactorily told. Brutality is not the only difficulty. History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies. (1969, 29) A Brighter Sun (Selvon, 1979) concerns itself with the issues of creolization, language, identity and national consciousness. However, central to these are the difficulties which a young labourer from the cane fields, Tiger, encounters in trying to adapt to a new way of life other than that in the cane fields. After his marriage, sixteen-year-old Tiger with his child-bride, Urmilla, moves from Chaguanas, a sugar cane belt where his parents live, to Barataria – a sub-urban and more cosmopolitan area of Trinidad – to seek his independence and manhood. For Tiger, this is a journey into uncertainty and also marks the beginning of his quest for independence. However, away from the influence of their parents, Barataria with its independence from the cane industry offers the Tigers the right environment for the establishment of new relationships and for becoming more aware of life’s other options, than that in the cane fields. By the end of the novel, Tiger, having experienced a long and painful process of loss and self-discovery, acquires a well-defined sense of responsibility and is willing to cope with whatever is available in the West Indies. However, he denounces the idea of going back to cane-cultivation. Cane, apart from bringing back bitter memories of exploitation, humiliation and brutality, reminds him of his peasant roots. For this reason, he cannot contemplate ever returning to cane-cultivation as a possible life’s option: “He considered going back to the cane fields in Chaguanas, but the thought of it made him laugh aloud” (215.) But Turn Again Tiger (Selvon, 1979), which is a sequel to A Brighter Sun (Selvon, 1979) makes it immediately clear that Tiger’s root in the cane fields are not that easily laughed away, as Selvon arranges Tiger’s return to the sugar cane estate of Five Rivers,
    • 74 Julia Udofia: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History where Babolal, Tiger’s illiterate father needs Tiger’s help to manage an experimental cane project. But Babolal deceives Tiger as to the nature of his job in Five Rivers. He is not to be the overseer of the project but its foreman. This significantly alters Tiger’s expectations of his relationship to Five Rivers. And so, Turn Again Tiger (Selvon, 1979) deals with the reinvestigation of the cane legacy in the Caribbean. It is for Tiger, a step back into that past which is both people’s personal history as well as the history of the Caribbean; a step which awakens memories of a way of life that Tiger thought he had left behind. These are memories of defeated manhood, humiliation endured, exploitation suffered, his people victimized and abused because of their indentureship to the cane industry and the hierarchy of the estate village. Five Rivers stands in direct contrast to sub-urban Barataria and the harshness of cane is reflected in the poverty of the cane workers and in the underdevelopment of the village. Like Crossing of “Cane is Bitter” (1979), Five Rivers is a village which lacks educational facilities and basic amenities such as pipe-borne water, electricity, public transportation, etc.: “Looking down into the valley, the few scattered huts of the village were tiny when Tiger could discover them, for they were built of clay and thatched with palm leaves and blended into the scenery as if they were deliberately camouflaged” (1). Thus, moving from the semi-cosmopolitan Barataria where he has friends, to the rural and deprived Five Rivers where he initially stands aloof from the villagers who work in cane, affords Tiger the opportunity of exploring the legacy of slavery and indentureship and its far-reaching influence on the life of the contemporary West Indian. Tiger’s arrival here marks a return to this past which he uncompromisingly rejects, yet still finds himself tied to by memory and by the need to help his father. He is threatened by its re-emergence. His stay here, therefore, initiates a period of voluntary indentureship to cane which he bitterly resents and from which he is to be released only after the cane harvest is completed. And so, Tiger stands on a hill that overlooks the valley of cane that is Five Rivers: “Cane danced and swayed in the wind until the eye collided with a mountain in the distance. He had never seen cane like that, from on top… and he thought: sometime in the
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 75 future you will be in another country in another form, sweetening an Englishman’s cup of tea in London, perhaps and he won’t be thinking of cane at all” (1). However, standing on the hill gave him a feeling of power but: He hated the cane. Cane had been the destiny of his father, and his father’s father. Cane had brought them all from, the banks of the Ganges as indentured labourers to toil in the burning sun. And even when those days were over, most of them stayed shackled to the estates. (1) Sandra Paquet (1979) observes that the hill/valley metaphor symbolizes the distance that has evolved between Tiger and his roots and that Tiger’s descent into the valley, into the cane fields of his past involves a psychic journey into unexplored areas of selfidentity and personal history. She notes further that Tiger’s descent from hill to valley is echoed by Makak’s descent in Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain from Morne Makak and his incarceration in the valley below, where Makak finally wrestles with, and destroys the white goddess that torments his soul (1979, x). Working as time-keeper with his father under a white supervisor, and for a while, as gardener at the white supervisor’s quarters, Tiger is, forced to confront and deal with the social and psychic tensions that arise between his origins in a traditional Indian community of cane workers and his emerging ambition as a literate, self-educated member of the Barataria community. He resolves to establish his independence of both these bitter childhood memories and of his father’s “groveling respect for the white man” (49). He bolsters his threatened ego with self-assurances of his difference from the others who work in cane by virtue of his literacy. At this stage, he is detached from the peasants and prefers the job of timekeeper to that of actual cultivation of the crop because, this job imbues him with a false sense of superiority which moves him to fight his father over the occupation of certain rooms in their house. However, it can be said that the conflict which develops between Tiger and Babolal is not just a struggle between father and son for pride of place, but a conflict between the nature of Babolal’s relationship to cane and Tiger’s rejection of that circumscribed
    • 76 Julia Udofia: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History world. Tiger, thus, wages a war against a system that has impoverished and dehumanized the black race. While Babolal represents the traditional order of things, Tiger is the champion of the new breed of West Indians who are determined to “change and dislocate a status quo that has done great damage to the black man’s image and human dignity” (Acholonu, 1987, 85). Thus, cane to Tiger, symbolizes colonialism with its attendant evils against the black race, while the cane estate represents the battle field of the colonial encounter which resulted in the defeat, subjugation and dehumanization of the black race. Tiger’s onslaught on the traditional order with all its myths and taboos however, takes a “climactic turn” in his encounter with the white woman, Doreen, the wife of the plantation supervisor. Tiger’s personal convictions and sense of superiority become badly shaken by his inability to successfully confront the temptation posed by Doreen Robinson as he stumbles on her bathing naked in the river. At once, Tiger becomes embarrassed as if he is the one naked, and his first reaction is to get away before he is seen – not creep silently but run wildly, as in panic. Robinson’s wife reveals to Tiger that he is still tied to the fears and inhibitions of a debilitating respect for a value system that makes the white woman different from any other woman. Thus, while Tiger manages a certain indifference to the white supervisor, his white wife, Doreen, is quite another matter. As he stumbles on her, Tiger reflects: There was danger here, his thoughts were jumbled as he tried to reason it out, flashing across the years to his childhood, keep off the white man’s land, don’t go near the overseer’s house, turn your head away if you see the white man’s wife. Such were the warnings of old men who in their youth had laboured in the fields and passed their experiences to their own sons. (49) And so, despite Tiger’s best efforts, he succumbs to the postures he was taught as a child and he runs away from the scene in panic: Tiger ran. He stumbled around the corner and kept on running, his bare feet thudding lightly on
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 77 the trail, the sound deadened by dry leaves. He stepped blindly on a horsewhip snake sunning itself in the path, and it wrapped itself around his foot with the speed of a taut spring suddenly released. Tiger grabbed it and pulled it away and flung it in the bush, still running in a kind of one-legged madness. (50) After he had run for about half a mile, he slowed down gradually and his pace slackened. As he fell into a walk, his folly became more possessive and he became so full of shame that he stopped dead and stood still in his track, as if his motionlessness could compensate for his flight. With a quick turn of emotion, he turned around and faced the direction from which he had come: All his mind cried out to go back, to repair this damage to his dignity before it was too late. He actually took a few steps angrily, thoughts flying about in his head confusedly, but of one thing he was sure: he had made a mistake in fleeing. He had run away like a little boy, scared, because a white woman had called out to him. He, Tiger, who had his own house, who had a wife and a child, who worked with the Americans during the war, who drank rum with men and discussed big things like Life and Death, who could read and write. Tiger, thus, sees Doreen as the epitome of the evils of colonialism and he swears: “The bitch… she don’t know that is she who cause everything” (145). Tiger’s shame of his childish flight from Doreen’s nakedness takes on a self-destructive bent. The damage to his self-esteem is more than he can handle and deterioration sets in with drunkenness, the neglect of his wife and child, the rejection of his responsibility as a literate member of the community and the symbolic burning of his books for their failure to help him deal with the crisis of his infatuation with Doreen: “No more books” he told himself, watching them burn, “they only make me miserable”. Plato,
    • 78 Julia Udofia: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History Aristotle, Shakespeare, the lot. All them fellars dead and gone, and they aint help me to solve nothing. You study this, you study that, and in the end what happen? In the end you hungry, in the end you wondering if you going to meet Singh in the shop to have a drink, you wondering if Ramroop child would get better from the cough, and if the tomatoes you plant going to bear next week. And before you know it, you come a old man and you dead and everything finish. All of them there, all them bitches,none of them know what happen to you when you dead…. (111 -112) Tiger, however, assures himself: “If the chance only come, I know what I go do” (245). The golden opportunity comes almost immediately. Nature takes its normal course as Tiger finds himself engaged in a carnal battle with Doreen. It is significant that their sexual encounter when it finally occurs at Doreen’s initiative is meant as an act of violence on Tiger’s part. There is no tenderness, no single gesture of affection that might sentimentalize their passion. This is in part, a reversal of the white/Indian girl relationship that haunts Tiger’s memories of Chaguanas. The humiliation Tiger feels because of his earlier inability to deal with Doreen’s sexuality purges itself in his determination to kill her: He held the cutlass tightly and said to himself that he would kill her. When he said that, it gave him courage: his grip tightened and he felt that if he killed her everything would be all right after. That was why he held her, to kill her. And when she held on too, Straining against him and caressing the sweat on his skin, he was entirely unaware of it. He crushed her to him and they fell locked like wrestlers on dry bamboo leaves. (146) Tiger’s imagined sexual violation of Doreen therefore, becomes the ready substitute for his determination to kill her, since
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 79 his hatred is so intricately bound up with his infatuation. In Paquet’s words “the phallic image of the black man’s cutlass on white flesh neutralizes the anguish of a memory in which it was always the white overseer who took Indian women and not the other way round” (xiii). And so, the indignities of the gardener and white mistress roles are expunged in the crudeness of this sexual encounter which is intended as a mutual assault and cancels out both the idea of an illicit passion and the passion itself. Selvon carefully excludes any suggestion of tenderness or romantic involvement that might mar their encounter as the working out of a deep psychic hurt. In the violence and exhaustion of their mutual passion, Tiger succeeds in killing off that part of himself which remained vulnerable to the mystique of the white woman and with it one of the legacies of a colonial past that the hierarchical structure of the sugar cane estate sustains. As Acholonu puts it “the glorious physical combat of pleasure signifies the final destruction of the mysteries of the superiority and power associated with the white man’s world” (1987, 85). And so, cane, as can be seen is the dominant image in the novel. It is also the precipitating factor for several actions in the work. For instance, cane is the reason for which Babolal persuades Tiger to move to Five Rivers. It is also what defines their relationship to Five Rivers and the quality of life there. For Babolal, cane is his whole life; he organizes the rhythms of his life and gauges its possibilities in terms of cane. In fact, Babolal’s body “smelled of work; the wild sweet smell of sugar cane” (4). For him, there is no romance in the work; having lived with it all his life, for out of a cane field, Babolal is helpless and lost. Cane is also the cause of Soylo’s personal distaste, having lost his wife and son to it. Like Tiger, Soylo is overwhelmed by a private grief that cuts him off the rest of the community. He tells Tiger how he lost his only son in the burning of cane before harvest and how, later, his wife went mad with grief and died. Cane is equally the source of the marital discord between Otto and his wife, Berta, for it is in the cane field that Berta and Singh are discovered together, before Otto takes up their challenge and defends himself against their debasement of his love and manhood.
    • 80 Julia Udofia: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History Cane is also the symbol around which the techniques in the novel are built. Through the structural set-up of Five Rivers, Selvon presents a facsimile of a typical sugar estate with the white supervisor and his wife at the top, aloof from everyone else and surrounded by all their creature comforts. Robinson’s name suggests a connection with Robinson Crusoe, the literary archetype of the plantation owner, trader in slaves and colonizer. The process of cane-cultivation is also made to parallel Tiger’s development. When Tiger goes to Five Rivers, cane is cultivated. At this point, Tiger and Urmilla are green and full of life. At the end of the novel, cane is harvested and Tiger insists on participating actively in it as opposed to his time-keeper’s job. He, like Romesh in “Cane is Bitter” is no longer content to maintain a distance between himself and the peasants. However, at the end of the stories, both Tiger and Romesh reject the idea of ever returning to cane-cultivation as a possible life’s option. Romesh announces: “I am not going to stay bab… I will help with the crop, you shall get the bonus if I have to work alone in the night. But I am going away after the crop” (72). Similarly, Tiger, planning a return to Barataria, is looking forward to assuming a community leadership role which he failed to play in Five Rivers largely because of his private war with cane. In fact, Tiger becomes vulnerable to the lure of emigration and the prospect of further education. This is because, cane, apart from emphasizing their dependent status, diminishes the peasants physically and makes them myopic and fearful of progress and change as seen in Ramlal, Babolal and Rookmin. Cane underscores their subservient position in relation to the whites and emphasizes their abject social and economic deprivation and lack of control over their lives, e.g., their fortunes, wealth and even mood depend on cane. This is in addition to the fact that cane is also a physically ugly and brutal crop, which perhaps, makes Naipaul declare: I never liked the sugarcane fields. Flat, treeless and hot, they stood for everything I had hated about the tropics and the West Indies…. It is a brutal plant, tall and grass-like, with rough, razor-edged
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 81 blades I knew it was the basis of the economy but I preferred trees and shades. (1969, 67) Tiger moves from Chaguanas to Barataria, to Five Rivers, and then to Barataria again. This is not unconnected with the disruptive potential of cane and epitomizes the predicament of a nomadic society and the individual: a wanderer in space and time, who can find no anchorage. And so, cane is bitter because it brings back bitter memories of exploitation, humiliation and brutality as well as reminds them of their peasant roots. Cane is bitter as seen in the peasants’ total dependence on cane which not only makes them reactionary, but also renders them with a limited perception of life’s possibilities. In fact, Bruce F. Macdonald (1988, 174) makes the point that cane prevented the relationship that might have developed between the agricultural labourer and the land because work on the land was associated with cane and cane meant servitude with the result that the agricultural workers readily turned away from the land to work for the Americans at their new military bases. In Macdonald’s words: “the land was for cane, cane was cruel and few could be intimately associated with land on its terms” (173). And so, Tiger and Romesh seek release from it. As Romesh puts it, there was too much of the “sameness” all over: “cane, labour, boy children and the familiar village…?” (Selvon, 1979, 70). Conclusion From the foregoing, it is clear that the epithet “Cane is Bitter” can, indeed, be regarded as the “epigraph” of West Indian history. With the discovery of the great economic potential of sugar in the world market and the consequent importation of negro slaves and indentured Indian labourers into the West Indies, plantation slavery began in the Caribbean. And so, cane is bitter because it was what caused the dispossession and uprootment of millions of people from their homelands for servitude in the West Indies and has destined them to a life of hard toil, poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, subservience and dependence. Cane is bitter because it is a killer and destroyer of dreams and hopes as seen in Soylo’s case. Perhaps, V.
    • 82 Julia Udofia: The “Epigraph” of Caribbean History S. Naipaul sums it up when he says: “Sugar is an ugly crop and it has an ugly history” (1969, 129). WORKS CITED Acholonu, Rose. “The West Indian Novelist and Cultural Assertion: Samuel Selvon’s Artistic Vision” in Black Culture and Black Consciousness in Literature, E. N. Emenyonu, ed. Ibadan: Heinemann, 1987. Macdonald, Bruce F. “Language and Conciousness in Samuel Selvon’s A Brighter Sun in Critical Perspectives on Sam Selvon, Susheila Nasta, ed. Washington D. C.: Three Continents Press, 1988. Naipaul, V. S. The Middle Passage. London: Penguin Books, 1969. Paquet, Sandra Pouchet. Introduction to Turn Again Tiger, Samuel Selvon. London: Heinemann, 1979. Roach, E. W. “Homestead” in A Collection of Poems by a Poet from Tobago. London: Heinemann, 1967. Selvon, Samuel. The Plains of Caroni. London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1970. _________ “Cane is Bitter” in Ways of Sunlight. London: Longman Group Ltd., 1979. _________ A Brighter Sun. London: Longman Group Ltd., 1979. _________ Turn Again Tiger. London: Heinemann, 1979. Toomer, Jean. Cane. New York: Liveright, 1975. Walcott, Derek. The Castaway and Other Poems. London: Penguin Books, 1965. Williams, Eric. From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean 1492 – 1669. London: Andric Deutsch, 1970.
    • Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier : Les replis d’un texte Boubacar CAMARA * Résumé et mots-clés : Nous proposons de déplier ici Il pleut des oiseaux 1 de Joclyne Saucier. A travers cette opération déconstructrice commandée par le texte, nous nous proposons, à partir du thème de la mort, d’aborder la question de l’utopie. C’est par l’utopie définie comme horizon du faire et de l’être que cette œuvre interpelle la pensée et le mode de vie moderne. L’explication libère un certain nombre de thèmes qu’une lecture furtive ne peut pas apercevoir. Mots clés : Absolu, amour, amitié, asile, avenir, campagne, communauté, compréhension, déconstruction, déployer, différance, dystopie, entente, existence, fiction, folie, horizon, interprétation, jeu, liberté, marque, messianisme, millénarisme, mort, pensée, phénoménologie, philosophie, pli, politique, relatif, sémiotique, survivre, texte, trace, utopie, vieillesse, ville, vivre Summary and keywords: We intend to unfold here Jocelyn Saucier’s Il pleut des oiseaux. Through this operation of deconstruction, motivated by the text, we aim to deal with the issue of utopia, from the theme of death. It is through utopia, defined as the horizon of action and being, that this literary work questions modern thought and way of life. Maître de conférences et docteur d’état en littérature française à l’Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis. 1 Désormais abrégé [IPO : + page(s)]. *
    • 84 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … This explication highlights a certain number of issues which cannot be felt through a furtive reading. Keywords: Absolute, love, friendship, refuge, future, country, community, understanding, deconstruction, display, “différance”, dystopia, harmony, existence, fiction, madness, horizon, interpretation, game, freedom, sign, messianism, millenarianism, death, thought, phenomenology, philosophy, fold, politics, relative, semiotics, survive, text, mark, utopia, oldness, city, live. Introduction Incontestablement le jury des 5 continents 2 a fait preuve d’un goût certain en repérant et couronnant ce roman bouleversant de l’écrivaine québécoise Jocelyne Saucier (née en 1948) malgré les thèmes, assez communs, abordés (la mort, la critique quasiromantique de certains aspects de la vie moderne, l’éloge de la vie dans la forêt...). On y parle, comme elle le dit, des tableaux d’un de ses personnages [il s’agit évidemment de Théodore Boychuck)], d’« amour, [d’]errance, [de] douleur, [de] forêt profonde et [de] rédemption dans l’art, des thèmes chers au cœur de jeunes artistes qui aiment que la vie racle les bas-fonds avant d’atteindre la lumière » [IPO : 173]. Le coup de force a justement été de donner à ces lieux communs une très grande ampleur. Incontestablement, dès l’instant qu’on se laisse entrainer 2 Créé par l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie ce prix honore depuis 2001 à Beyrouth. L’objectif de cette récompense à laquelle on a d’abord songé à donner le nom de « Prix du roman des terres francophones » est de couronner un roman écrit en langue française par un auteur émergent. Il est attribué depuis 2003. C’est la 10e édition qui a vu le couronnement, pour la première fois, d’un écrivain québécois.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 85 dans le jeu 3 du texte on est irrésistiblement interpellé. Certes dans ce quatrième roman, comme dans toute son œuvre d’ailleurs 4, elle est très modeste dans ses ambitions puisqu’elle ne fait que nous proposer des trajectoires d’êtres simples qui, incapables de s’insérer dans leur société, choisissent d’autres vies alternatives 5 et ce faisant fondent leurs existences sur d’autres valeurs, plus primitives, plus essentielles. Même si, tout le long de son roman, elle n’adopte pas la posture romantique qui consiste à critiquer unilatéralement la civilisation 6 pour des valeurs naturelles (thèmes et figures romanesque dont il nous faudra, grâce aux instruments fournis par la sémiotique 7, élucider les significations), il n’en demeure pas moins que cette œuvre offre matière à penser. L’objectif de cet article est de montrer que le texte de Jocelyne Saucier, derrière sa transparence apparente, dépl(o)ie un jeu de langage philosophique (ce sera l’objet de notre 1er chapitre) et un jeu de langage utopique (ce sera le thème 3 Il va sans dire que le mot jeu renvoie au philosophe autrichien Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). Sur cette question nous renvoyons à son Investigations philosophiques qui est un ouvrage posthume publié en 1953. Dans la dernière traduction française de 2004 (chez Gallimard) le titre retenu est celui de Recherches philosophiques. 4 Cette œuvre comprend à ce jour 4 titres (voir bibliographie à la fin de l’article). 5 Cette notion renvoie aux mondes utopiques dont nous parlerons plus loin. 6 7 Voir la bibliographie à la fin.
    • 86 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … de notre 2e chapitre). Certes les marques 8 de ces isotopies philosophiques et utopiques sont, de l’aveu de l’auteur elle-même 9, extrêmement « sobres » [IPO : 145], mais elles sont suffisamment pertinentes (quoiqu’elles conservent leur réserve discrète et énigmatique de trace 10) pour se prêter au dépl(o)iement, à l’amplification sémiotique, philosophique… Le texte s’est suffisamment ex-pli-qué 11, les plis d’une sollicitation de traductions suffisamment, dé-signés, marqués (on relèvera, en gras, le vocabulaire derridien que nous mobiliserons tout le long de notre analyse) pour faire subir au texte la contre-épreuve de la pensée, c'est-à-dire de l’interprétation philosophique. En effet, en dispersant nos certitudes, en nous entrainant dans une épochè, ce roman nous oblige à penser. On voit que le mot interprétation (en tant que discours supplémentaire, répétitif) retrouve toute sa charge ambivalente de traduction. Pour dire, lorsque s’agit de lecture, qu’on n’a d’autre choix que de se réapproprier le texte selon ses lignes directrices. 8 9 Nous devons cette notion à Jacques Derrida. Développé en 1971 dans une communication à un colloque portant justement sur la « Communication ». il y pointe la propriété d’un texte qui le rend capable, en l’absence de son auteur de ré-itérer des plis, des parcours virtuels contraignants. Quasi synonyme de signature la (re)marque la marque opère sous grâce à la réserve que procure l’énigme. Dans leur discrétion elles rendent possible le décodage, c’est le chiffre inscrit dans li gribouillis s’un tableau [IPO : 144]. Pour plus d’éclairage sur cette question nous renvoyons aux indications bibliographiques. Elle offre de remarquables leçons d’interprétations à travers des mises en abyme de l’énonciation 10 Cette notion de trace, à, avers les allomorphes de blessure, cicatrice, énigme parcourent l’œuvre de Jocelyne Saucier. 11 « Il fallait que le texte s’explique, sinon on n’y comprendrait rien. » [IPO : 145-146]
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 87 1. La dimension philosophique. Jocelyne Saucier, qui nous vient de la sphère politique, est une écrivaine instinctive. C’est le « talent à l’état brut » [IPO : 172]. Elle a su faire confiance à la puissance de sa vision et à la force de sa sensibilité, le tout mis au service d’une expression variée sans être baroque, sobre sans être simpliste. Cette maîtrise stylistique, ce sens inné des effets et du jeu sont tels qu’elle réalise une écriture où un talent quasi cinématographique est combiné à une vision philosophique parfaitement retenue. Certes l’œuvre déploie une portée philosophique, certes l’œuvre nous interpelle, certes l’œuvre se donne à penser, mais elle reste fondamentalement romanesque, c'est-à-dire enracinée au plus profond de la vie. Gilles Deleuze a raison de signaler dans son magistral Qu’est-ce que la philosophie ?, que « l’artiste est [d’abord] montreur d’affects, inventeur d’affects, créateur d’affects, en rapport avec les percepts ou les visions qu’il nous donne. » 12 Jocelyne, en bonne phénoménologue, est dotée d’un pouvoir d’empathie on ne peut plus remarquable. À cet effet elle adopte, tout le long du roman, le point de vue de personnages vivants et se sachant mourant. D’où, l’alternance de la narration à la 1e personne (homodiégétique) et de la narration à la 3e (hétérodiégétique), à quoi il faut associer la focalisation interne, le style indirecte libre... De fait, ce roman est un émouvant document existentialiste. Sachant qu’un romancier est par essence un bon phénoménologue, il est normal que ce bloc d’affects et de percepts qu’est IPO soit un émouvant document de phénoménologie appliquée à la mort et à la vie. Bref la photographe (dont on ne connaîtra jamais le nom, à moins que ce ne soit Jocelyne Saucier elle-même) ne pensait pas, à travers leurs regards, leurs poses tragiques entrer, et faire entrer ses narrataires, dans la conscience, l’âme de survivants. Nous verrons plus loin le sens qu’il faut donner au sur- de survie. La situation de ces survivants des Grands Feux qui ont vu la mort de très près, l’exemple ce mythique « Ed Boychuck, ou Ted ou Edward, l’homme qui avait survécu aux Grands Feux et qui avait fui sa vie dans la forêt » [IPO : 13] résume toute la trame philosophique du récit. La survie installe le 3e âge, « Le grand âge qui […] qui apparaissait comme l’ultime refuge de 12 Tunis : éd. Cérès, 1993, p 197.
    • 88 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … la liberté, là où on se défait de ses attaches et où on laisse son esprit aller là où il veut » [IPO : 83]. Si, comme le dit Albert Camus, « le roman n’est jamais que de la philosophie mise en en images » 13, la philosophie que nous ressentons ici est enfouie, diffuse dans les phénomènes narratifs, c'est-à-dire dans le magma d’affects et de percepts ou, pour parler comme A-J Greimas et Jacques Fontanille 14 dans les passions morbides cependant éminemment vivantes. Cette dimension est exposée 15 ici comme elle l’est dans l’existence à cette différence près qu’elle y est légèrement, très légèrement, subtilement accentuée, (re)marquée. Exactement comme dans l’art de Theodore Boychuck : « La scène en elle-même n’était pas très impressionnante. On ne voyait que du noir mêlé à de longues traînées brunes sous un ciel écrasé d’épaisses coulées grises. Tout l’intérêt de la toile était dans « On ne pense que par images. Si tu veux être philosophe, écris des romans. » Ce qui en dit long sur sa position face à la philosophie. On retrouve aussi cette idée dans un commentaire qu'il porte sur La Nausée de Sartre : « Un roman n'est jamais qu'une philosophie mise en images. » (Carnets II. Paris : Les Éditions Gallimard, 1964, p. 134).) «Un roman n’est jamais qu’une philosophie mise en images. Et dans un bon roman, toute la philosophie est passée dans les images. […] Il s’agit aujourd’hui (avec La Nausée ) d’un roman où cet équilibre est rompu, où la théorie fait du tort à la vie.» Camus qui rendait compte de La Nausée, le 20 octobre 1938 13 Nous indiquons une piste de lecture dont les éléments théoriques sont exposés dans la Sémiotique des passions (Paris : Seuil, 1991) des auteurs ré-cités. 15 Ce mot ne peut pas ne pas rappeler l’exposition de l’héroïne principale, exposition dot le principe est ainsi décrit : « Elle voulait des textes sobres. Sa réflexion n’était pas encore très avancée, mais elle savait ue l’émotion qui se dégageait des tableaux se trouverait amplifié par le témoignage de la photo. Donc pas trop de bavardage sur les cartons. » [IPO : 145]. 14
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 89 un léger coup de pinceau (n.s.) qui dégageait un point lumineux dans un empâtement noir, le trou d’aération par lequel respirait la mère de l’enfant à naître. Il fallait que le texte explique sinon on n’y comprendrait rien. » [IPO : 145-146] Cet appel à ex-pli-cation concerne, évidemment, au premier chef l’élucidation philosophique. En tout cas cette dimension philosophique est à ce point diffus qu’il faut beaucoup de patience pour extraire les philosophèmes, repérer les concepts banalisés et citer les énoncés philosophiques. Afin donc d’éviter de nous livrer à l’exercice, ici artificielle, de la citation, nous dresserons un tableau des concepts sauciériens (dont certains, qui seront mis entre deux slashs 16, n’accèdent pas à l’être d’un vocable). Concepts finement ciselés, concepts suffisamment au point pour que les mots quotidiens pris dans un réseau 17 conceptuel se mettent à fonctionner doublement : comme mots de récit (supports d’affects et percepts) et comme concepts. C’est que, comme le dit le vieillissant et ultra-lucide Gilles Deleuze, philosopher, c’est créer des jeux de concepts 18 qui permettent de survivre. Nous verrons d’ailleurs dans la deuxième section de cet article qu’elle forme une configuration que nous dénommerons utopie, ou, dit en termes deleuziens, ce sont les Conformément à la pratique des sémanticiens qui distinguent ainsi par exemple le sémème /chat/ du mot chat. 17 Deleuze 16 18 « Le philosophe est l’ami du concept, il est en puissance de concept. C’est dire que la philosophie n’est pas un simple art de former, d’inventer ou de fabriquer des concepts, car les concepts ne sont pas nécessairement des formes, des trouvailles ou des produits. La philosophie, plus rigoureusement, est la discipline qui consiste à créer des concepts. » (Gilles Deleuze, op. cit., p.9.).
    • 90 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … sommets d’un agencement sur le plan d’immanence 19 appelé utopie : Plan d’immanence Concepts Utopie Existence Mort Vivre Vieillesse suicide Bonheur Blessure Liberté Entente cadenas Amour /Folie / /Survivre/ /Compréhension/ Repérage 36, 38, 44, 45, 83, 142, 159, 162, 163, 165 39, 179, 79, 82,115, 126 35, 141 179, 41 9,26, 33, 102 35 47 77, 129, 136, 141 91 107 108 109 13, 18, 75, 99, 113, 117 Notion Dispersée Figure 1 : tableau conceptuel d’IPO Ces concepts (de concert avec les affects et les percepts) n’en continuent pas moins d’interpeller notre pensée. La vieillesse comme l’utopie (dont elle ouvre le champ) nous touchent au plus haut point. Pourvu que l’œuvre soit bien com-prise, pourvu qu’on joue le jeu du texte, quoique l’on soit jeune par l’âge, il est donné au 19 « Les concepts sont l’archipel ou l’ossature, une colonne vertébrale plutôt qu’un crâne, tandis que le plan est la respiration qui baigne ces isolats. Les concepts sont des surfaces ou volumes absolus, difformes et fragmentaires et fragmentaires, tandis que le plan est l’absolu illimité, informe, ni surface, ni volume, mais toujours fractal » (op. cit., p. 40.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 91 lecteur de vieillir. Vieillir, c'est-à-dire survivre 20, vivre en sachant que l’on va mourir, que l’on est mort, comme si cette sur-vie nous est donnée telle une libération, une deuxième voire une troisième vie (un sursis): À partir du moment où le mortalis a cédé la place au moriturus et a fortiori au moribundus, où le candidat à la mort, susceptible en général de mourir, a entendu l’appel de la mort imminente, où le « mortel » appelé à une mort possible es devenu un « moribond » en puissance de mort ou en instance de mort, où le destin a inscrit la créature sur la liste restreinte de tout proches élus, à partir de ce moment l’homme a réalisé que la mort n’est plus une éventualité abstraite, mais l’avènement d’un événement. 21 Cette dimension philosophique donne à l’œuvre tout son retentissement, toute sa profondeur, toute sa puissance. Elle imprime au récit, conformément aux recommandations d’Albert Camus, un léger, un très léger pli philosophique qui aiguille la lecture et appelle à lui faire subir la contre-épreuve du dépliage (ou si l’on préfère, de l’élucidation) philosophique. Déplier c'est-à-dire décoder [IPO : 113-114] déchiffrer les re-plis qui parcourent la surface calme du récit. De toute évidence ce texte à côté du jeu narratif, et en raison de la signature (de l’empreinte 22) philosophique qu’il porte, donne Voir « Parjure » de Jacques Derrida publié dans Parages. Paris : Galilée (collection La philosophie en effet), 1986 (p. 117-218). La première version de ce texte parut en anglais dans un ouvrage intitulé Deconstruction and Criticism (The Seabury Press, New York, 1979). ? 21 Vladimir Jankélévitch. La mort. Paris : Camps-Flammarion, 1977, p. 21. 20 22 Et, de fait, il est beaucoup question dans ce texte de deuil et de cicatrice. Or les opérations mises en œuvres dans ce travail de couture, c’enfermement de la folie sont éminemment philosophiques.
    • 92 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … beaucoup à jouer. Il se prête alors aisément au jeu de langage philosophique. Tout en restant fidèle à la vie, l’œuvre déploie des vagues philosophiques, dépl(o)ie à sa surface de vagues philosophèmes. Quoiqu’elle n’ait peut-être pas cherché à jouer sur ce contrepoint philosophique. En tout cas cette Québecoise, si du moins on en croit à sa conversation dans laquelle elle s’identifie complètement à ses personnages, donne l’impression de ne pas vouloir prendre en considération, voire saisir la dimension philosophique de son œuvre. Elle nous enseigne magistralement que la Mort, ce Personnage Conceptuel 23avec lequel le Philosophe mène un dialogue soutenu, qu’on l’accepte ou non, est l’horizon de la vie. Ce Personnage qui peut à tout moment survenir donne cependant toute sa valeur à la vie. La mort donne tout son prix à la vie, de sorteque l’apprendre-à-mourir de Montaigne est bien un apprendreà-vivre. Apprendre à vivre en se sachant mourant (moribundus), sachant que la vie est un vieillissement permanent. Par la grâce de la conscience de vieillir, la mort cesse d’être la mort de l’autre pour être notre mort prochaine pour nous concerner 24. Les héros de Jocelyn Saucier (Ed-Ted-Théodore Boychuck, Tom, Charlie, Tom, Steve, Bruno, Gertrude-Marie-Desneiges,-Ange-Aimée…) tiennent à ce que la mort anonyme, brutale, avilissante soit leur mort, une 23 « Les personnages conceptuels sont les « hétéronymes » du philosophe, et le nom du philosophe, le simple pseudonyme de ses personnages. Je ne suis plus moi mais une aptitude de la pensée à se voir et se développer à travers un plan qui me traverse en plusieurs endroits. » , F. Nietzsche, op. cit., p. 70. 24 « Lhomme croyait savoir et il ne savait pas ! Il s’arrange pour être surpris par la chose du monde la moins surprenante… Il s’avise un beau jour de ce qu’il sait déjà depuis longtemps : cette prise de conscience est le plus souvent une brusque intuition et une révélation aussi soudaine que la conscience de vieillir ; car si l’homme vieillit peu à peu, de plus en plus, jour après jour, la conscience de vieillir, elle, advient, elle, tout à coup et d’un seul coup… », V. Jankélévitch, op. cit., p.15.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 93 mort héroïque. Assumer la mort, dont la forme la plus extrême est le suicide, c’est l’accomplissement d’une vie vécue, ou plus précisément écrite dans la perspective d’une vie-mort dominée. Mort de sa mort [Il s’agit de Ted], m’a assuré Tom, et j’ai cherché Charlie du regard […]. Il y avait un pacte de mort entre mes p’tits vieux. Je ne dis pas suicide, ils n’aiment pas le mot. Trop lourd, trop pathétique pour une chose qui, en fin de compte, ne les impressionnait pas tellement. Ce qui leur importait, c’était d’être libres, autant dans la vie qu’à la mort, et ils avaient conclu une entente. [IPO : 35] Écrire leur vie pour ces hommes de volonté pour qui il n’y a, rigoureusement parlant, pas d’au-delà de la mort (sinon un néant serein), c’est faire de la mort la note finale d’une symphonie achevée. Paradoxalement, en cessant d’être le jouet du Personnage de la Mort, en cessant d’être porté à l’espoir 25, en faisant de l’échéance inéluctable de la mort (le philosophe parle de finitude) notre horizon constant, tout un avenir se déploie. En devenant d’emblée vieux, en faisant en somme comme si on était le dernier humain attendant la fin du monde 26, en considérant chaque acte comme le dernier qu’il fallait se hâter de signer, on réalise deux rêves dits utopiques dont l’essence est de se déployer dans le non-lieu : le rêve de souveraineté et le rêve d’éternité. Dès l’instant qu’au prix d’un véritable renversement de valeurs l’éphémère cesse d’être une valeur relative eu égard au tourment d’une autre vie possible pour devenir la valeur absolue, le désir d’éternité s’accomplit. La mort est alors un pré serein. Mais cette œuvre n’interpelle pas seulement l’existant que nous sommes en lui ouvrant la perspective inépuisable de la sur-vie, 25 « On ne peut pas empêcher un cœur d’espérer. » [IPO : 160] 26 [IPO : 144]
    • 94 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … perspective proprement artistique, elle met également en œuvre les catégories les plus puissantes et les plus modernes de la philosophie politique (ce qui ne saurait surprendre) : les catégories utopiques.. 2. LA DIMENSION UTOPIQUE Jocelyne Saucier, ce talent brut, pratique, sans le chercher, l’utopie qui est à la fois un genre littéraire, une catégorie morale, une catégorie politique 27 et une catégorie herméneutique 28. Qu’elle ne cherche pas à faire à de l’utopie est gage de justesse dans la mesure où la création artistique travaillant dans les affects et percepts opère en deçà des catégories analytiques. Elle met intuitivement en œuvre les schémas canoniques 29 dits « utopiques », schémas qui, tout en faisant énigme, ne cessent, cependant, de donner à penser. L’utopie de la « communauté du lac » est proposée à la pensée afin que, comme chez Descartes elle remette en question ses certitudes. De la même manière que le célèbre « L’homme est né bon mais c’est la société qui le corrompt » 27 Voir article « Utopie » de l’Encyclopediae universalis et l’Histire de l’utopie de J. Servier (Paris : Gallimard-Folio/Essais, 1967 et 1191) et la fondamentale Histoire de l’utopie de Jean Servier(Paris : Gallimard/ Folio-Essais, 1967 et 1991). 28 Pour nous situer dans la mouvance ricoeurienne on peut dire que quelque chose de profond et d’enfoui en l’homme lui est révélé dans le récit utopique : « (voir Temps et Récit. Paris : Seuil/).. 29 « Chaque type de discours, peut-être chaque genre […], et chaque figure de rhétorique sont ainsi composées d’un ou de plusieurs schémas complexes, dont la reconnaissance par le lecteur est une des plus sûres et plus générales instructions de lecture. Comme ils sont caractéristiques d’un type ou d’un genre, ils guident a priori la compréhension du discours, et ils ont alors le statut de schémas culturels, placés sous-convention ou héritées de la tradition : c’est la raison pour laquelle on les appelle des schémas canoniques. » Jacques Fontanille. Sémiotique du discours. Limoges : Pulim, 2003 (1e édition 1999), p. 116-117.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 95 fonctionne comme un axiome explicatif, de cette même manière l’utopie est une fiction (on peut même ajouter théorique). Ce n’est pas une rêverie, ce n’est pas comme le prétendent Cioran 30 et Peter Sloterdijk 31des illusions, un ersatz de réalité. Pour utiliser un langage logique, nous dirons plutôt que les propositions (ou énoncés) utopiques sont des négations d’énoncés présentés comme faux. En d’autres termes ce sont de véritables énoncés fictifs qui représentent, décrivent le monde. De ce point de vue l’utopie est au cœur du récit fictif tel que défini par le philosophe analytique Nelson Goodman : […] Représenter consiste à classer les objets plutôt qu’à les imiter à caractériser plutôt qu’à copier, il n’est pas question d’enregistrer passivement. […] Une représentation ou une description convient, est efficace, pénétrante, elle éclaire ou intrigue, dans la mesure où l’artiste ou l’écrivain saisit des rapports nouveaux et significatifs, et imagine des moyens pour les rendre manifestes 32. L’écriture utopique procède en tant que schéma argumentatif, comme l’ont magistralement démontré Ernst 30 « L’utopie, d’après Cioran, est une mixture de rationalisme puéril et d’angélisme et d’angélisme sécularisé. » in Histoire et utopie Paris : Gallimard/Folio-Essais, 1960, p. 111 31 « L’utopie, c’est justement cette fonction auto-hypnotique à travers laquelle l’individu moderne, et surtout le groupe moderne, retrouvent une motivation, une force motivante artificielle. » in Le Magazine littéraire, n° 387 (L’Utopie), mai 2000, p. 56 (colonne B). Voir également, du même philosophe allemand, L’Heure du crime et le temps de l’œuvre d’art. Paris : Calman-Lévy, 2000. 32 Langages de l’art. Paris : Hachette-Littératures/Pluriel, 1990, p. 86/87.
    • 96 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … Bloch 33 et Jean Servier, d’une critique sans équivoque d’une réalité sociale dans laquelle l’homme est voué à une existence privée de cet horizon transcendantal. À l’affairement économique et distrayante, à la déréliction (voir Jean Servier) d’un monde dystocique 34, l’expérience utopique oppose (grâce à l’opération de négation) un monde utopiste arraché à la crainte de la mort. Au Royaume de Dieu des écritures messianiques et millénaristes (figures profondément religieuses), l’écriture oppose un Royaume terrestre. Techniquement donc, on parle de structure utopique dès qu’à une conscience empirique affairée et distraite présentée, pour parler le langage des sémioticiens, comme un contenu inversé, est opposée une conscience se déployant dans l’espace libre (libérateur) du survivre. La conscience utopique apparaît à chaque fois qu’un horizon est ouvert à la créativité indéfinie de l’existant. « Non pas l’horizon relatif qui fonctionne comme une limite, change avec un observateur et englobe des états de choses observables, mais l’horizon absolu, indépendant de tout observateur, et qui rend l’événement comme concept indépendant d’un état de choses visible où il s’effectuerait. » 35 Le monde utopique est dans l’exposition narrative (qui à tout prendre, comme pour le schème mythique de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, n’est qu’une présentation didactique) un contre-monde. En réalité, si l’on en croit le carré sémiotique de Greimas et Rastier 36, le monde utopique, du point de vue métaphysique, est le monde impliqué, ce qui fait de l’univers empirique le véritable contre-monde (la contre-utopie). L’horizon utopique (d’où sa forme fictive et hyperbolique) est un horizon absolu 37 qui disperse tout 33 L’esprit de l’utopie, traduction de A. M. Lang et de C. Piron-Audard. Paris : Gallimard, 1977 34 C’est le monde à l’envers. 35 Gilles Deleuze, op. cit., p. 40. A. J. Greimas. Du sens 1. Paris : Seuil : 1970. Voir également sous la direction de Frédéric Nef. Structures élémentaires de la signification. Bruxelles : Éditions Complexe, 1976. 37 Deleuze 36
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 97 horizon relatif dans un mouvement de différance qui ne connaît pas de terme. C’est dire que les oppositions agissant dans le roman sauciérien, nature/culture, ville/campagne, sont des reprises, dans l’ordre du langage narratif, de l’opposition absolu/relatif. Dès lors les mondes utopiques qu’il faut poser comme des horizons politiques fonctionnent comme un jeu de valeurs directrices et régulatrices. À cet idéal, la mort assumée donne, paradoxalement, toute sa signification puisque, parmi plusieurs choses, elle confère au sujet mortel (au mortalis) toute sa valeur absolue. Une vie ne vaut rien, certes, mais rien ne vaut une vie. La communauté que propose Jocelyne, et qui, par sa discrétion interpelle le lecteur, est l’autre de la société qui en est sa négation. Cette société qui regroupe des atomes individuels, lorsqu’elle se croit la plus libre, n’est que la forme euphémique de l’asile. En positivant la folie comme réaction à l’enfermement physique ou mental, Jocelyne s’inscrit, de fait, sur le plan d’analyse de Michel Foucault 38. C’est dire que l’utopie fonctionne également selon les règles du jeu de langage généalogique : Elle avait donc trouvé sa parente dans une maison en banlieue de Toronto. Une maison où s’entassaient une cinquantaine d’affreux. Des déficients, des infirmes, des fêlés du bol, on ne faisait pas la différence, personne n’en voulait, personne ne les avait réclamés. Ils avaient vécu toute leur vie en institution. [IPO : 57] La folie n’était peut-être que cela, un trop-plein de tristesse, il fallait simplement lui donner de l’espace. [IPO : 91] Lorsque dans la société asilaire (dystopique) l’individualité disparaît dans la ressemblance généralisée, dans le monde utopiste la société, en devenant communauté (concept qui surgit naturellement dans le discours utopiste), ne cesse de voir la différance disperser 38 Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique. Folie et déraison. Paris : Gallimard / Tel, 1972.
    • 98 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … toute identité. Dans la communauté on ne cesse, comme le dit JeanJacques Rousseau, d’être présent à soi dans le vivre-ensemble. Il faut plutôt dire, puisque l’utopie est de l’ordre du devoir-être (E. Bloch), puisque c’est un impératif ontologique mais surtout politique, la société ne doit avoir de cesse de devenir communauté. A eux trois, ils ont formé un compagnonnage qui avait assez d’ampleur et de distance pour permettre à chacun de se croire seul sur sa planète. Chacun disposait d’un campement autonome avec vue sur le lac, mais impossible d’apercevoir son voisin, ils avaient pris soin de laisser une épaisse lisière de forêt de l’un à l’autre. [IPO : 40] La vérité utopique est apparemment une vérité prématurée pour une époque où le vivre-ensemble signifie privation de liberté. Et pourtant il faudra bien, pour que l’idée de société ait du sens, que le collectif opère sur la trace de la liberté. Chacun obéissant à tout le monde n’obéit pourtant qu’à soi-même disait le grand utopiste JeanJacques rousseau. La société doit se fixer comme horizon le modèle de la communauté qui préserve l’autonomie, la liberté grâce • À l’entente • À l’amour et • À la compréhension. Par l’amour, je fais don de moi-même à l’autre : ce qu’il me donne je le lui rends au centuple. Cet échange contre-économique, on l’appelle potlach, amour, amitié. Par l’amour, je me donne sans retenue, sans compter. Je donne même ce que j’ai de plus profond, c'est-à-dire ma vie par le sacrifice. Par la compréhension, cette autre forme du lien qui libère, cette entente qui m’unit à l’Autre sans me lier à lui et au lien, j’accepte l’autre dans sa différence sans pour autant l’aimer. Je m’enrichis de sa différence. C’est l’offrande faite à Steve et Bruno qui « aiment l’illégalité » […]. Par la compréhension, je suis le chemin qui fait bon accueil au différent, qui accueille le visage en hôte à qui je ne donne pas ma loi si elle ne me donne pas sa loi : « Il
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 99 n’y a rien qu’il [Steve] aime tant que de discuter l’inconnu que lui amène la route » [IPO : 49]. L’utopie libère des catégories existentialistes qui permettent de vivre la vie en sachant qu’on peut à tout moment mourir. Conclusion Cette œuvre dans sa simplicité n’en recèle pas moins une part fondamentale de profondeur. En se donnant la mort comme thème essentiel, ce texte nous interpelle. Du coup la question du vivre en se posant autrement libère l’espace d’un certain possible ; qui l’analyse verse dans le registre du genre utopie. Le projet utopique pose à l’horizon des faire social, économique, politique… un idéal à atteindre. Ou plutôt, à travers son faire, on ne doit cesser de créer, d’inventer cette u-topie. À ce non-encore-lieu (c’est ainsi qu’il faut élucider le mot u-topie) en « suspens » [IPO : 179] il faut donner corps. Elle est comme « ces endroits qui ont abandonné toute coquetterie, toute afféterie, et qui s’accrochent à une idée en attendant que le temps vienne leur donner raison. » [IPO : 14]. Bibliographie 1. Corpus de Jocelyne Saucier : a. SAUCIER, Jocelyne. La Vie comme une image. Montréal : XYZ, 1996 b. SAUCIER, Jocelyne. Les Héritiers de la mine. Montréal : XYZ, 2000 c. SAUCIER, Jocelyne. Jeanne sur les routes .Montréal : XYZ, 2006 d. SAUCIER, Jocelyne. Il pleuvait des oiseaux. Montréal : XYZ, 2011
    • 100 B. Camara : Il pleut des oiseaux de Jocelyn Saucier … 2. Bibliographie générale a. DERRIDA, Jacques. De la grammatologie. Paris : Les Éditions de Minuit, 1967 b. DERRIDA, Jacques. La dissémination. Paris : Seuil, 1972 c. GENETTE, Gérard. Figures III. Discours du récit. Paris : Seuilcollection Poétique, 1972 d. GENETTE, Gérard. Nouveau discours du récit. Paris : Seuilcollection Poétique, 1983) e. RABATE, Alain. Lire/écrire le point de vue. Une introduction à la lecture littéraire. Lyon : CRDP de Lyon2002 f. DELEUZE, Gilles. Qu’est-ce que la philosophie. Tunis : éd. Cérès, 1993 g. JANKELEVITCH, Vladimir. La mort. Paris : CampsFlammarion, 1977 h. SERVIER, Jean. Histoire de l’utopie. Paris : Gallimard/ FolioEssais, 1967 et 1991 i. FONTANILLE, Jacques. Sémiotique du discours. Limoges : Pulim, 2003 (1e édition 1999) j. SLOTERDIJCK, Peter. L’Heure du crime et le temps de l’œuvre d’art. Paris : Calman-Lévy, 2000 k. GOODMAN, Nelson. Langages de l’art. Paris : HachetteLittératures/Pluriel, 1990 l. BLOCH, Ernst. Geist der utopie. Francfort-sur-le main, 1971 (traduction de A. M. Lang et de C. Piron-Audard. L’Esprit de l’utopie. Paris : Gallimard, 1977).
    • Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Meurtre sacré et mort profane. Enjeux des tableaux narrativisés dans A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans Issa NDIAYE * Résumé Les tableaux de G. Moreau que décrit et commente le personnage d’A Rebours jouent un rôle important dans l’architecture du roman. Les rapports que des Esseintes entretient avec ces œuvres picturales ainsi que ses commentaires disent, implicitement, sa volonté de dépasser le naturalisme et de tracer la configuration d’un roman nouveau. Mots-clefs : narrativisation, métatextualité, meurtre, transposition. Abstract G. Moreau’s pictures which the character in A Rebours describes and comments on, play an important part in the structure of the novel. The relations which des Esseintes keeps with these pictural works as well as his comments tell implicity about his intention to go beyond naturalism and draws the layout of a new novel. Keywords : narrativisation – metatextuality, murder, transposition. Deux critiques contemporains, Jean Borie 1 et Patrice Locmant 2 ont expliqué l’intérêt que Huysmans portait à la peinture * Maître de conférences, Fastef/ucad. 1 Jean Borie. Huysmans, Le diable, le célibataire et Dieu. Paris : Grasset, 1991.
    • 102 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … sous un angle psychanalytique. L’auteur, en se choisissant un pseudonyme à consonance nordique, revendiquerait l’héritage du père disparu. Ils ont sans doute raison. L’objet de cet article est de montrer toutefois que la fascination que les peintres (Gustave Moreau et Matthias Grunewald, principalement) ont toujours exercée sur le romancier relève de préoccupations artistiques qu’une connaissance du champ littéraire de l’époque permet de cerner. L’analyse de ce long ekphrasis 3 sur deux chefs-d’œuvre de Moreau, au chapitre V d’A Rebours souligne les enjeux véritables de l’exercice. Il s’agit, dans le commentaire de ces deux tableaux reprenant l’épisode biblique de la décollation de Jean-Baptiste, de l’invention d’une autre modernité. Certes, le véritable Huysmans s’y révèle : sa peur et ses obsessions du sexe et ses sourdes inquiétudes métaphysiques se dévoilent dans ce long commentaire halluciné des œuvres de Moreau. Mais ce qui s’affirme, plus nettement encore, si l’on tient compte de la totalité de la production romanesque de Huysmans, c’est une volonté de se déprendre des procédures de conception et d’élaboration du roman naturaliste. C’est en se jouant des codes naturalistes et en mobilisant des genres et des arts différents que le romancier mine de l’intérieur le roman de son temps. Dans cette entreprise de subversion littéraire, le commentaire de la représentation de Salomé occupe une place essentielle. Nous nous proposons, d’abord, d’analyser les enjeux de cette représentation, par le langage, d’une représentation picturale et, ensuite, d’étudier la place que le personnage de Salomé occupe dans le roman. 2 Patrice Locmant. J.-K. Huysmans. Le forçat de la vie. Paris : Bartillat, 2007. 3 Une ekphrasis, au pluriel : ekphraseis (grec ancien εκφραζειν, « expliquer jusqu'au bout »), est une description précise, détaillée et vivante.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 103 1. ENJEUX Pour légitimer la transposition d’art, Baudelaire formule une intuition qui abolit les frontières entre les différents arts telles que les a perçues Lessing, l’auteur du Laocoon : Ce qui serait vraiment surprenant, c’est que le son ne pût pas suggérer la couleur, que les couleurs ne puissent pas donner l’idée d’une mélodie, et que le son et la couleur fussent impropres à traduire des idées, les choses s’étant toujours exprimées par une analogie réciproque depuis le jour où dieu a proféré le monde comme une complexe et indivisible totalité4. C’est ce maître des synesthésies et de l’analogie 5 que convoque Huysmans au Chapitre I d’A Rebours, faisant des Fleurs du mal l’un des modèles tutélaires du roman 6 . Dans l’exposé du protocole d’un exercice que Huysmans a pratiqué sans le différencier de son activité créatrice, les comptes rendus de salon alimentant son œuvre romanesque et réciproquement, se lit l’influence de Baudelaire, plus déterminante que celle d’Hippolyte Taine, l’auteur de la Philosophie de l’art 7 et figure emblématique du positivisme. Rendre compte d’un tableau est, en effet, pour Huysmans, une tâche à la fois positiviste et subjective. : [C’est] résumer la biographie du peintre et les origines de son art, montrer ses tenants et ses aboutissants, expliquer le sujet qu’il traite, en indiquer les sources, s’il s’agit par exemple d’une vie de saint ou d’une légende, puis définir 4 Charles Baudelaire. « Richard Wagner et Tannhausser à Paris ». in Œuvres Complètes. Paris : Robert Laffont, « collection Bouquins », 1980, p. 852. 5 Cf. Emmanuel Adatte. Les Fleurs du mal et le Spleen de Paris. Essai sur le dépassement du réel. Paris : José Corti, 1986, p. 114-136. 6 Cf., Joris-Karl Huysmans. À Rebours. Paris : Gallimard, 1977, p.96. 7 Voir Hippolyte Taine. Philosophie de l’art. Paris : Fayard, 1985. Voir en particulier : Première partie ch. I et Quatrième partie.
    • 104 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … son talent, l’analyser en décelant les ruses de son métier et les qualités de sa technique, révéler les sensations personnelles qu’il suggère et surtout décrire le tableau de telle façon que celui qui en lit la traduction écrite, le voie 8. Décrire un tableau, c’est créer une œuvre d’art puisqu’il s’agit de traduire une vision par des mots choisis qui expriment les sentiments du scripteur ; le texte ainsi créé devenant reconfiguration du modèle. Ce rapport entre le signe pictural et l’écriture, tel qu’il est voulu par Huysmans, est le même que celui que Flaubert a voulu établir entre le romancier et la totalité des signes. Flaubert, mystagogue, a donné à Maupassant tout comme à Huysmans la même leçon : l’originalité ne dépend pas de l’objet contemplé – La Bièvre vaut le Gange 9 - mais de la qualité de la vision, des rapports nouveaux que le spectateur instaure avec ce qu’il voit : «il s’agit de regarder tout ce qu’on veut exprimer assez longtemps et avec assez d’attention pour en découvrir un aspect qui n’ait été vu et dit par personne 10. Aucun romancier réaliste majeur n’a contesté cette théorie flaubertienne du regard 11 : la mimesis réaliste et naturaliste dans les rationalisations de Zola, des Goncourt ou de Maupassant repose sur l’idée fondamentale selon laquelle le visible est représentable, même 8 9 Joris-Karl Huysmans, Préface au livre de l’abbé Broussole. La Jeunesse du Perugin et les origines de l’École ombrienne. Paris : 1901. Cité par H. Bouiller. « Huysmans et les transpositions d’art ». in Huysmans. Une esthétique de la décadence. Actes du colloque de Bâle Mulhouse et Colmar. Paris : H. Champion, 1987, p. 127-134. Gustave Flaubert. « Lettre à J.-K. Huysmans » février-mars 1879. in Correspondance. Paris : Gallimard, 1998, p. 727. 10 Maupassant. Le Roman. in Romans, Paris : Gallimard, Pléiade, 1987, p. 713. La même leçon est donnée à Huysmans et à Maupassant. Voir G. Flaubert, op. cit., pp. 713et 726-727. 11 Sur ce point, voir Issa Ndiaye. Les Savoirs positifs et la création littéraire chez les écrivains naturalistes français du XIXe siècle. thèse pour le doctorat d’État, Faculté des Lettres, 2002-2003, p. 47-65.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 105 l’irrendable 12 ; tout dépend de l’œil de l’artiste. C’est dans l’utilisation des ressources de la langue que ces auteurs se différencient les uns des autres : le maniérisme des Goncourt et de Huysmans s’opposant au classicisme de Flaubert et de Maupassant. Huysmans, en faisant prévaloir une leçon des saintes Ecritures 13, a donné, dans ses comptes rendus de salon, une vision souvent neuve, voire perverse 14, des représentations picturales. On peut prendre l’exemple de sa lecture d’un tableau de Bianchi, aujourd’hui attribué à Marmitta 15, que le critique d’art interprète de manière iconoclaste et blasphématoire. Par cet acte de liberté irrévérencieuse, il ouvre la possibilité d’une lecture plurielle de l’œuvre d’art, la seule capable d’apporter une réponse satisfaisante à cette angoisse du déjà dit formulée par Boileau et reprise dans une perspective tainienne 16 par Huysmans au moment de la rédaction d’A Rebours, la seule en mesure de redonner vie aux mythes et aux poncifs 17. Cette tentative ,Jules et Edmond de Goncourt. Journal, t. II. Paris : Robert Laffont, 1989, p. 680. 13 Voir J.-K. Huysmans. En Ménage. Paris : U.G.E., 1975. Un personnage, André Jaillant, formule cette loi dans le roman (op. cit., p. 139) : « Les Saintes Ecritures ont raison : la terre est remplie de gens qui ont des yeux pour ne pas voir ». 14 Voir Antoine Compagnon. « Huysmans, Proust et la lecture perverse de la Renaissance italienne ». in Huysmans. Une esthétique de la décadence. Actes du colloque de Bâle, Mulhouse et Colmar, Paris : Honoré champion, 1987, p. 227-235. 12 15 Joris-Karl Huysmans. « Bianchi » Passeur, 1992, p. 73-83. in Du Dilletantisme. Paris : le 16 Cf. H. Taine op. cit. p. 23-24. 17 Dans la Préface écrite vingt ans après le roman », Huysmans note : Au moment où parut A Rebours, c’est-à-dire en 1884, la situation était donc celle-ci : le naturalisme s’essoufflait à tourner la meule dans le même cercle. (…) Nous autres, moins râblés et préoccupés d’un art subtil, nous devrions nous demander si le naturalisme n’aboutissait pas à une impasse et si nous n’allions pas bientôt nous heurter contre le mur du fond. Voir J.-K. Huysmans. A. Rebours. Paris : Gallimard, 1993, p. 58-59.
    • 106 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … de rajeunissement des vieux sujets s’illustre exemplairement au Chapitre V d’A Rebours où le personnage principal du roman, esthète malade tenaillé par une sexualité trouble et ambiguë, commente deux réalisations picturales de Gustave Moreau, Salomé dansant devant Hérode et L’Apparition. Les lecteurs de Certains et de L’Art moderne peuvent avoir l’impression de reconnaître dans cet ekphrasis sur la peinture de Moreau une scénographie habituelle Huysmans met en scène trois personnages : un peintre, son œuvre et un critique d’art. Sur le peintre, le discours proféré par le critique d’art de la fiction (des Esseintes) reprend celui de l’auteur de L’Art moderne 18 et de Certains 19 : la comparaison des fragments textuels indique, sans doute possible, que l’essentiel sur les caractéristiques de la peinture de Moreau, un hapax selon Huysmans, a été déjà dit dans son compte rendu de L’Exposition des indépendants en 1880 20. Moreau est unique21, son originalité dérive de fusions architectoniques , de la synthèse d’arts différents et de cultures diverses ; il faudrait, en effet, pour en rendre compte, penser aux arts de l’Orient, de l’Italie, de l’Inde, et convoquer dans un même mouvement les qualités littéraires de Flaubert, des Goncourt et de Baudelaire 22. Salomé, telle que l’a toujours rêvé des Esseintes, n’était pas seulement la baladine (…) qui rompt l’énergie, fond la volonté d’un roi ; elle devenait la déité symbolique de l’indestructible Luxure, la déesse de l’immortelle Hystérie, la Beauté maudite, élue entre toutes par la catalepsie qui lui raidit les chairs et lui durcit les muscles ; la Bête monstrueuse, indifférente, irresponsable, insensible, empoissant de même ,Joris-Karl Huysmans. L’Art moderne / Certains. Paris : U.G.E., 1975, p. 132-134. 19 op. cit., p. 256-258. 18 20 in L’Art moderne, éd. cit. p. 93-124. 21 ibid., p. 132. 22 J.-K. Huysmans. A. Rebours. éd. cit., p. 149.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 107 que l’Hélène antique, tout ce qui l’approche, tout ce qui la voit, tout ce qu’elle touche 23. La vision hallucinée de des Esseintes fait appel à une double mémoire intertextuelle et inter esthétique (la sienne et celle du lecteur). Sont évoquées toutes ces figures de femmes qui ont mis au jour l’opposition entre Eros et la loi, l’érotisme et la spiritualité ainsi que la vieille complicité entre Eros et Thanatos : la Salammbô ou l’Hérodiade de Flaubert, Manette Salomon des Goncourt, Nana de Zola, Esmeralda de Hugo et Carmen de Mérimée. La danse de Salomé 24 évoque ainsi non seulement le texte de l’évêque d’Hippone 25, le premier à avoir décrit cette captation érotique de la raison par le corps, mais les textes des auteurs du XIXe siècle où la danse satanique vise à assujettir la raison, la foi ou le génie artistique. La description de Salomé mobilise dans un premier temps ainsi des textes évangéliques, les sermons des prédicateurs et la littérature profane. Mais c’est pour mieux les nier dans le moment qui suit cet acte souverain. On le sait : le tableau de peinture dénarrativise le mythe en fixant un récit dans une image. En procédant à une narrativisation des deux tableaux de Moreau Huysmans redonne au mythe sa fraîcheur matinale tout en prenant ses distances avec l’hypotexte évangélique et en se démarquant des écrivains et des peintres qui ont été séduits par la figure féminine : ni saint Mathieu, ni saint Marc, ni saint Luc, ni les autres évangélistes ne s’étendaient sur les charmes délirants, sur les actives dépravations de la danseuse. Elle demeurait 23 idem, ibid. , p. 144-145. 24 Ibid., p. 142-143. 25 Voir Augustin d’Hippone. Quinzième et Seizième Sermons pour la décollation de Jean Baptiste. Cité par Marc Bochet. Salomé du voilé au dévoilé, Métamorphoses littéraires et artistiques d’une figure biblique. Paris : Les Editions du Cerf, 2007, p. 26-28. Dans la fiction, l’évêque d’Hippone est bien connu de des Esseintes ; voir À Rebours. éd. cit., p. 119.
    • 108 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … effacée, se perdait mystérieuse et pâmée, insaisissable pour les esprits précis et terre à terre, accessible seulement aux cervelles ébranlées, comme rendues visionnaires par la névrose, rebelle aux peintres de la chair, (…), incompréhensible pour tous les écrivains qui n’ont jamais pu rendre l’inquiétante exaltation de la danseuse, la grandeur raffinée de l’assassine 26. Ce propos de des Esseintes libère la parole narrative des récits et des représentations qui l’ont précédée ; le récit se veut parole neuve ; il se constitue en se mirant aux discours évangélique et profane (romanesque, épique, théâtral) qu’il nie dans le même mouvement. Construit comme la plupart des comptes rendus de Huysmans, il est dramatisé par l’introduction d’un mouvement et d’une temporalité ; il devient scène onirique par le passage de l’imparfait (qui sert à planter le décor) au présent de narration qui actualise la scène antique et fait de des Esseintes, en dépit de la distance historique, un spectateur aussi envoûté que le Tétrarque Hérode Antipas. Le récit insiste sur cette identité de statut « Tel que le vieux roi, des Esseintes demeurait écrasé, anéanti, pris de vertige, devant cette danseuse. 27 La danse de Salomé a, ainsi, un effet identique sur les personnages : elle devait réveiller les sens assoupis du vieil Hérode 28 ; elle a un effet analogue sur des Esseintes, le névrosé. Par l’hallucination, le personnage de la fiction romanesque (des Esseintes/Huysmans) se place sur le même paradigme que le personnage biblique. Dans le cadre strict de la fiction médicale que propose le roman, la dramatisation du diptyque de Moreau produit les effets escomptés car sa vertu thérapeutique est évidente : l’esprit, les sens et le 26 Joris-Karl Huysmans . À Rebours. éd.cit., p. 144. 27 ,Joris-Karl Huysmans. À Rebours, éd.cit., p. 148. 28 Ibid., p. 143.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 109 système nerveux affectés par la névrose, selon la clinique 29, sont revivifiés par la contemplation de deux chefs d’œuvre de Moreau : « il y avait dans [ces] œuvres désespérées et érudites un enchantement singulier, une incantation vous remuant jusqu’au fond des entrailles. » 30 Aucune des prescriptions médicales techniques ou florales n’a, dans le roman, le même effet sur le personnage. Dans ce long fragment du Chapitre V d’A Rebours, la scénographie habituelle du compte rendu de salon devient celle du mythe (inspiré d’une rhétorique de la prédication) dramatisé, avant Huysmans, par Flaubert. À la différence de Flaubert, Huysmans met en place, par la textualisation, une scénographie introuvable en se jouant des codes génériques des discours (mythique, médical, religieux) ainsi que de la mémoire intertextuelle du personnage fictionnel et du lecteur. Le délire interprétatif de des Esseintes et ses hésitations convoquent des espaces religieux et profane, pour finir par extraire la figure de Salomé, d’un temps et d’un espace définis. 31 Dans ce soliloque né de l’hallucination provoquée par la contemplation des deux œuvres de Moreau, se lisent en fait des préoccupations et des choix de J.-K. Huysmans. L’auteur d’A Rebours se refuse à une lecture idéologique des deux tableaux d’un Moreau affecté par la défaite française de 1870 et l’échec de la Commune de Paris qui confiait à sa mère que ses œuvres « pouvaient être le symbole des événements et des aspirations ainsi que des cataclysmes présents. » 32 29 Les symptômes du nervosisme, maladie à la mode au xix siècle, sont étudiés par deux psychiatres du temps. A. Axenfeld (Traité des névroses. Paris : G.Baillière,1883) et. E. Bouchut (Du Nervosisme aigu et chronique et des maladies nerveuses. Paris : J.-Baillière et fils,1877). Ces deux auteurs sont les références majeures de Huysmans. 30 Ibid., p. 149. 31 32 ,Joris-Karl, Huysmans. À Rebours. éd.cit. ,p. 145. Cité par .M. Bochet. Salomé. .Du voilé au dévoilé. Paris : Les Éditions du Cerf, 2007, p.125,note 1.
    • 110 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … Huysmans préfère mettre en avant l’ourserie de Gustave Moreau. Dans A Rebours comme dans L’Art moderne, le peintre est présenté comme un mystique, un illuminé 33 ; il est mis dans un paradigme d’artistes éprouvant de la haine pour leur époque, au même titre que Flaubert, les Goncourt, Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Odilon Redon et Rops 34. A aucun moment dans les écrits de Huysmans, les positions politiques de Moreau ne sont clairement évoquées. L’enjeu de toutes ces ruses avec la biographie tient à la récusation de la théorie positiviste de la lecture de l’œuvre d’art qui propose, comme clefs de déchiffrement, la race, le milieu et le moment 35. Comme Flaubert 36, Huysmans est d’avis que « la théorie du milieu, adaptée à l’art est juste – mais juste à rebours, alors qu’il s’agit de grands artistes, car le milieu agit sur eux par la révolte, par la haine qu’il leur inspire. » 37. Cette contestation de la critique positiviste impose une relecture de la Notice qui ouvre le roman. En surface, ce texte d’ouverture est fidèle au canevas tracé par le roman expérimental de Zola : des Esseintes est le dernier descendant d’une lignée frappée par la dégénérescence. Relue en fonction du discours proféré sur Moreau, elle devient leurre tout comme la caution des livres de Bouchut et d’Axenfeld que Huysmans convoque pour souligner le caractère naturaliste de son roman. En fait, ce qui est dit de Moreau, tout comme la configuration du personnage de Salomé ou de des Esseintes remet en question la validité du naturalisme. Huysmans 33 34 35 Voir Joris-Karl Huysmans, A Rebours, éd.cit., p. 145-146. Joris-Karl Huysmans. Certains. éd.cit., p. 259. H. Taine n’est pas l’unique représentant de cette critique positiviste. L’esprit du temps (le positivisme) informe aussi les théories critiques de Renan et de Sainte-Beuve qui se révèlent inefficaces ici ; Des Esseintes est le dernier descendant d’une lignée frappée par la dégénérescence. Mais ce déterminisme ne peut servir qu’à une explication de surface de son mal. Voir Gustave Flaubert. « Lettre à Edma Roger des Genettes » (20 octobre 184). in Correspondance, éd. cit., p. 460-61. 37 Joris-Karl Huysmans. Certains. éd.cit., p. 258. 36
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 111 fait semblant de se conformer à un modèle pour mieux le contester. De la même manière, il dépasse tous les hypotextes littéraires et picturaux du mythe de Salomé. C’est dans ce dessein qu’il confronte le texte de l’évangile de saint Mathieu au tableau de Moreau et à son propre texte. Le récit lapidaire de l’évangéliste évoque un meurtre fondateur : celui de Jean-le-Baptiste. Le texte de Mathieu est elliptique dans la mesure où il ne décrit ni le palais d’Hérode ni la danse de Salomé, encore moins les effets de cette danse sur les spectateurs. L’évangéliste ne dit que le plaisir du Tétraque, la promesse qui s’en suit et sa réalisation, c’est-à-dire la décollation du Précurseur. La narrativisation du diptyque de Moreau faite par Huysmans comble les interstice du récit princeps, étire certaines séquences comme celle de la danse. Comme chez Jean Chrysotome ou Augustin d’Hippone, il fait de Salomé la figure centrale du début du récit et de la tête du Précurseur celle de la fin de ce même récit, fidèle en cela aux deux tableaux de Moreau. L’etymon évangélique est ainsi transcendé par la peinture et la littérature. En effet, le texte de Huysmans réactualise les thèmes et les significations que les Pères et les Docteurs de l’Église ont trouvés dans le récit mythique (le danger de la nudité et du désir, la perversion de la danse), reconduit les mêmes oppositions (le Désir vs la loi / le sacré), les mêmes connivences (Eros / Thanatos). Mais, en dépit de son satanisme, Salomé devient dans le texte huysmansien, par la médiation de Moreau, la figure rêvée de l’esthète, celle qui cristallise ses idéaux affectifs et littéraires, le comble mieux que toute autre référence artistique. Dans le texte de Huysmans, elle retrouve enfin l’origine de son nom (étymologiquement Salomé, en Hébreu signifie la paix), signification que le texte évangélique a toujours niée et qu’une longue tradition artistico-littéraire a longtemps occultée. Par ce renversement axiologique, la littérature se déprend de la morale et de la religion et Huysmans s’inscrit dans la lignée de Rops dont il loue « le spiritualisme de la Luxure. » 38. 38 Joris-Karl Huysmans,.« Félicien Rops ». in Certains, éd.cit., p. 288-315.
    • 112 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … Le ravissement et la fascination éprouvés par des Esseintes 39 font écho à la griserie ressentie par Huysmans face aux tableaux de Moreau dont la féerie et « la surprenante chimie des couleurs suraiguës, arrivées à leur portées extrêmes, montaient à la tête et grisaient la vue qui titubait, abasourdie. » 40. Entre le personnage et son créateur, il n’y a pas que ces connivences ; ils partagent la même recherche enfiévrée d’un art nouveau. Sous le pseudonyme d’A. Meunier 41, Huysmans a même pu dire qu’ un type unique tient la corde dans chacune de ses œuvres. Cyprien Tibaille et André, Folantin et des Esseintes ne sont, en somme, qu’une seule et même personne, transportée dans des milieux qui diffèrent. Et très évidemment cette personne est M. Huysmans, cela se sent. 42. Des Esseintes et Huysmans poursuivent la même quête. La transposition d’art qui s’effectue dans A Rebours l’indique de manière exemplaire. Perçue comme personnage dont la configuration fait appel à des cultures différentes et à des arts variés, Salomé est dans A Rebours la figure du dépassement de tous les styles qu’elle convoque. Sont en effet convoqués et dépassés dans le même mouvement « ces écrivains qui n’ont jamais pu rendre l’inquiétante exaltation de la danseuse, la grandeur raffinée de l’assassine ». Son exacte représentation devrait mobiliser, selon des Esseintes (Huysmans) trois écrivains du temps : Baudelaire, Flaubert et les Goncourt. L’étude des manuscrits d’A Rebours (publiés, en partie, par B. Marchal) ainsi que certains comptes rendus de salon de Huysmans sont 39 ,J.-K. Huysmans. À Rebours. éd.cit., p. 142-143. 40 J.-K. Huysmans. Certains. éd., cit., p. 257 Pseudonyme transparent puisque Huysmans utilise le nom de sa maîtresse. 42 ,A. Meunier. “Joris-Karl Huysmans”. in Huysmans. Cahiers de l’Herne. n°47, p. 25-29. Dans ce texte publié en 1885, un an après A Rebours, l’auteur cherche à mettre en valeur ce roman en faisant semblant de répondre aux critiques. 41
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 113 explicites sur ce point : l’auteur des Fleurs du mal, le Flaubert de La Tentation de Saint Antoine ou de Salammbô, les Goncourt et Delacroix sont évoqués pour rendre compte de la vision de Moreau qui dépasse tous ces artistes puisqu’il les réunit en une œuvre unique 43. Ainsi, la Salomé de des Esseintes, c’est-à-dire la transposition d’art, se construit à partir d’une intertextualité 44, d’une métatextualité (relation de commentaire avec des œuvres) 45 et d’une interesthéticité. La littérature se tourne vers elle-même, vers l’art, pour trouver les matériaux devant servir à son élaboration. Ainsi, Huysmans conjure cette menace de l’agraphie 46, qui pèse aussi sur Maupassant 47 ; en même temps, il récuse un modèle esthéticolittéraire, le réalisme et une philosophie, le positivisme dont Hyppolite Taine est l’un des représentants. La narrativisation des tableaux de Moreau, plus que l’œuvre du peintre 48, mine l’institution littéraire du temps en se jouant de 43 J.-K. Huysmans. L’Art moderne. éd. cit., p. 133 ; et A. Rebours, éd. cit., p. 149-150. 44 Des Esseintes rêvant d’une “thébaïde, raffinée” fait penser au Saint Antoine de La Tentation et le personnage de Salomé, par des éléments de sa configuration, aux personnages flaubertiens (Salammbô et Hérodiade). 45 Cf. Gérard Genette. Palimpsestes. Paris : Seuil, 1982, p. 10. Cf.,J.-K. Huysmans. “Préface écrite vingt ans après le roman” in A Rebours, éd.cit., p. 55-76. 47 Cf Yvan Leclerc. « Maupassant, l’imitation, le plagiat ». in Europe n°772-773, pp. 115-128. 46 48 Dans une lettre adresse à Huysmans, Moreau écrit: Je ne vous ai jamais remercié, et pourtant que ne vous dois-je pas ? à vous qui m’avez donné une des plus précieuses récompenses de ma vie de travailleur – votre sympathie d’artiste, à vous qui avez si magnifiquement pénétré et mis en lumière mes modestes inventions, et qui les avez comme créées à nouveau de votre merveilleux et incomparable outil (C’est nous qui soulignons). Lettre citée par Daniel Grojnowki. Salomé, l’art et l’argent. In Cahiers de l’Herne n°47, p. 165-179.
    • 114 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … l’esthétique naturaliste que le roman fait semblant de respecter. En effet, si la grille positiviste est inadaptée pour expliquer le génie de Moreau, elle ne peut non plus être appliquée à l’autre artiste, des Esseintes, le personnage principal du roman. En dépit de la Notice qui propose une explication de surface de sa maladie (la dégénérescence), la névrose de des Esseintes, corrélée à son génie artistique, échappe aux médecins : le roman montre que seuls l’art et la religion sont en mesure de l’expliquer et de la guérir. Le récit réaliste ou naturaliste se veut « tranche de vie » ou « histoire d’une vie » ; il s’inspire de faits divers, d’un épisode de l’histoire ; il mime ce qui est déjà arrivé ou ce qui aurait pu arriver. Dans A Rebours, c’est ce qui arrive dans la conscience du personnage qui constitue la matière du récit construit comme un soliloque. Dans cette longue remémoration, le commentaire, l’onirique et l’hallucination ont le même statut que les épisodes de la vie du personnage fictif qui veut réguler son corps et son existence, faire le point sur ses goûts et ses dégoûts artistiques. L’élection de la figure de Salomé lui permet de se déprendre du naturalisme, ce qui n’a pas échappé à Zola 49. Ainsi, ce dont il s’agit dans le chapitre V d’À Rebours est doublement vital pour Huysmans : plus que l’évocation de ce « meurtre fondateur », il y est question de la mise à mort du naturalisme. 2. SALOME : UN FOYER GENERATIF DE L’ŒUVRE Avant ce long ekphrasis consacré à la Salomé de Moreau, les différentes expérimentations du personnage de la fiction visaient, pour l’essentiel, à se créer un réel plus satisfaisant que la nature qui, selon des Esseintes, « a fait son temps ». Ses différentes constructions (l’orgue à la bouche, la tortue sertie de pierreries), ses travaux d’horticulture, ses expériences amoureuses hors norme, la femme ventriloque qui lui rejoue la scène flaubertienne capitale du Sphinx et de la Chimère, Miss Urania, l’histrionne, s’intègrent dans un 49 Cf. La discussion entre les deux écrivains est rapportée par Huysmans dans sa Préface écrite vingt ans après le roman in A Rebours, éd. cit., p. 7071.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 115 projet unique : substituer « le rêve de la réalité à la réalité même » 50. Si dans la rêvere de des Esseintes, la Crampton et l’Engarth, deux locomotives, ont pu lui donner l’impression de résumer la perfection féminine, aucune des deux machines ne produit le même envoûtement que Salomé. De sorte que la question que se pose le personnage au chapitre II : Est-ce qu’il existe, ici-bas, un être conçu dans les joies de la fornication et sorti des douleurs d’une matrice dont le modèle, dont le type soit plus éblouissant, plus splendide que celui de ces deux locomotives 51, trouve sa réponse au chapitre V. La femme idéale est un être pictural, littéraire et mythique, transfiguré par la rêverie d’un artiste, et qui, en retour hante ses cauchemars. Car cette peur du sexe perceptible chez des Esseintes décrivant Salomé, « la déesse de l’immortelle hystérie, la Beauté maudite (…), la Bête monstrueuse » 52, s’exprime dans l’univers onirique du personnage où la femme Bouledogue et la Grande Vérole occupent une place centrale. Ces étranges anamorphoses de Salomé dans l’inconscient du sujet ne sont cependant pas les seules. C’est dans la rêverie éveillée de des Esseintes, rêverie favorisée par l’obscurité, que s’opère une autre transformation : l’effacement de la Salomé de Moreau fait surgir l’Hérodiade de Mallarmé, comme suite naturelle du dyptique du peintre : L’obscurité cachait le sang, endormait les reflets et les ors, enténébrait les lointaines du temple, noyait les comparses du crime ensevelis dans leurs couleurs mortes, et n’épargnant que les blancheurs de l’aquarelle, sortait la femme du fourreau de ses joailleries et la rendait plus nue. Invinciblement, il levait les yeux vers elle, la discernait à 50 Op. cit., p. 103. 51 op.cit., p. 104. 52 A Rebours. éd.cit., p. 145
    • 116 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … ses contours inoubliés et elle revivait, évoquant sur ses lèvres ces bizarres et doux vers que Mallarmé lui prête 53. Salomé devient Hérodiade 54. Ce déplacement par substitution onomastique indique une deuxième parousie : le personnage pictural s’épure pour devenir une autre figure littéraire. Dans la rêverie de des Esseintes, cette figure contient le poème mallarméen, elle devient signe linguistique, un terme donnant à la fois, par un effet de similitude, la forme, le parfum, la couleur, la qualité, l’éclat 55 de l’objet, comme le « mot » mallarméen (selon des Esseintes), et qui pourrait préfigurer le roman idéal : un roman concentré en quelques phrases qui contiendraient le suc cohobé de centaines de pages (…). Alors les mots seraient tellement imperturbables qu’ils suppléeraient à tous les autres ; l’adjectif posé d’une si ingénieuse façon qu’il ne pourrait être légalement dépossédé de sa place, ouvrirait de telles perspectives que le lecteur pourrait rêver, pendant des semaines entières, sur son sens, tout à la fois précis et multiple, constaterait le présent, reconstruirait le passé, devinerait l’avenir des personnages, révélés par les lueurs de cette épithète unique »56. Ce roman nouveau, Huysmans le veut héritier du poème en prose mallarméen et des quintessences de Baudelaire et de Poe 57 ; il doit, grâce à la condensation, faire jouer la mémoire intertextuelle du lecteur. On le sait, toute la poétique réaliste et naturaliste repose sur l’idée que le réel est riche et représentable. Huysmans conçoit le roman, à partir d’A Rebours comme une aventure du langage et de 53 Op.cit., p. 136. 54 Op.cit., p. 315. 55 Op. cit., p. 317. 56 57 , J.-K., Hysmans. A Rebours. éd.cit., p. 320. J.-K. Hysmans. A Rebours. éd.cit., p. 320.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 117 l’imaginaire, une rencontre entre la mémoire intertextuelle (interesthétique) du créateur et celle du lecteur, une communion de pensée entre un magique écrivain et un idéal lecteur 58. L’esquisse de ce roman futur est le véritable projet littéraire de Huysmans. Dans un texte écrit en 1902, l’auteur reprenant Hyppolite Taine, à la suite de Maupassant, part du principe que la tendance artistique qu’exprime une école littéraire, s’incarne magistralement dans quelques esprits ; le mouvement décline lorsque les « élèves », par l’imitation, ne réalisent que de pâles copies des œuvres des « maîtres ». Il faut donc trouver du nouveau. A Rebours fait l’esquisse de ce roman nouveau dont des Esseintes, comme nous l’avons vu, élabore la théorie à partir de la réfutation d’un référent majeur du réalisme-naturalisme : la Nature 59. Ses expérimentations sur le factice floral le conduisent, en effet, à remettre en question le clivage entre le vrai et le faux : les fleurs factices « singeant les véritables fleurs » et les vraies imitant les fausses 60. Ce brouillage des frontières entre le vrai et le faux n’est qu’un aspect de la contestation de la « mimesis » réaliste puisque l’essentiel du discours romanesque dans A Rebours est constitué de commentaires, d’anamnèses et de l’exposé des goûts et des dégoûts artistiques du héros. Le roman fait ainsi appel à l’art (littéraire, peinture, musique) pour son élaboration. Salomé en devient ainsi la figure emblématique puisque le talent de son créateur, Gustave Moreau, se caractérise par la rencontre unique, selon des Esseintes entre des arts et des styles d’horizons différents. Dans le tableau, des Esseintes décèle, en effet, « de vagues souvenirs de Mantegna et de Jacop de Barbaj (…), de confuses hantises du Vinci et des fièvres de couleurs de Delacroix » 61, les traces « des théogonies de l’Extrême-Orient », des 58 Op.cit., p. 320. 59 Cf. Françoise Gaillard. « À Rebours : une écriture de la crise. » in Joris-Karl Huysmans. Revue des Sciences Humaines, n° 170-171, p. 111-122. 60 61 J.-K.. Huysmans. A. Rebours. éd.cit. p. 207. Cf.,F. Gaillard. Op. 111-122.
    • 118 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … cultures égyptienne et indienne ; l’exécution convoque différents styles, ceux de Flaubert, des Goncourt et de Baudelaire. La condensation qui doit présider à la création du roman futur, selon une modalité métadiscursive (le texte commentant son élaboration), caractérise la configuration du personnage pictural. Celle du héros romanesque aussi : « Jean des Floressas des Esseintes » faisant résonner des thèmes majeurs du livre : les « essences-enceintes que sont les œuvres et leurs succédanés » 62. La configuration du personnage (pictural et romanesque) de Salomé s’opère par la condensation ; mais les différents motifs qui le constituent (les pierreries, la fleur, la sexualité perverse et dangereuse) prolifèrent dans le roman. Salomé est l’histrionne comme Miss Urania 63 ; ses joailleries étincelantes rappellent la première expérimentation de des Esseintes (la tortue sertie de pierreries) ; quant à celle fleur énigmatique qui tient la danseuse, elle unit, comme motif, les expériences florales ; ses joailleries étincelantes rappellent la première expérimentation de des Esseintes (la tortue sertie de pierreries) ; alors que la fleur énigmatique que tient la danseuse, renvoie, comme motif, aux expériences florales de des Esseintes et aux Fleurs du mal de Baudelaire qui exerce une véritable fascination sur le personnage. Cette prolifération des motifs dépasse le cadre du roman dont les résonances se font sentir dans En Rade : l’un des rêves énigmatiques de Jacques Marles, le rêve d’Esther 64 semble actualiser une hypothèse du personnage d’A Rebours : Des Esseintes cherchait le sens de cet emblème. (…) ; annonçait-il au vieil Hérode une oblation de virginité, un échange de sang, une plaie impure sollicitée, offerte sous la condition expresse d’un meurtre (…) ? 65 Roge Alain .Glose pour des Esseintes. Cahier de l’Herne, n° 47, éd.cit., p.180-184. 63 J.-K. Huysmans .A. Rebours. éd.cit, p. 207. 62 64 J.-K Huysmans. En rade. Paris : Gallimard, 1984, p. 58-63. 65 J.-K. Huysmans. A. Rebours. éd.cit., p. 145.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 119 L’or, la fleur, la chair : ces différents motifs permettent la création d’un réseau thématique reliant subtilement les différents catalogues du « musée » de des Esseintes. Plusieurs paradigmes permettent ainsi la constitution d’une mémoire intratextuelle et la construction d’un roman autarcique qui trace la configuration de son narrataire et la présence du sujet qui écrit, car le véritable Huysmans est dans A Rebours. Grâce à la figure de Salomé, Huysmans s’inscrit dans la lignée, qui va de Montaigne à Leiris, car son roman se présente comme une aventure des signes dessinant, de manière subreptice et oblique, son autoportrait 66. Conclusion Des Esseintes procède à la représentation d’une image. Son texte est copie d’une copie. Ce qui est nouveau c’est que l’image qu’il commente (le diptyque de Moreau) est le lieu de rencontre d’images et de pratiques culturelles diverses qui sollicitent l’imaginaire du narrateur et du lecteur. Le roman devient aventure des signes car les différents motifs qui entrent dans la composition du personnage pictural prolifèrent dans le roman, Salomé jouant ainsi un rôle déterminant dans l’architecture d’A Rebours. Et s’il est vrai que les angoisses du personnage de la fiction expliquent la fascination pour ce « meurtre fondateur », c’est à la mise à mort symbolique d’une certaine littérature que procède Huysmans. Ce qui est appelé à mourir, c’est le roman caractérisé par « les longueurs analytiques et les superfétations descriptives », le roman consacrant des « centaines de pages (…) à établir le milieu, à dessiner les caractères, à entasser à l’appui les observations et menus faits » 67, le roman naturaliste. Ce programme sera (re)pris en charge par le personnage principal de Là-bas, un autre double de Joris-Karl Huysmans. 66 Voir Michel Beaujour. Miroirs d’encore. Paris : Seuil, 1980. 67 J.-K. Huysmans. A. Rebours. éd.cit., p. 320.
    • 120 I. Ndiaye : A Rebours de Joris-Karl Huysmans … BIBLIOGRAPHIE 1. HUYSMANS , J.-K. A Rebours. Paris : Gallimard,1977. 2. HUYSMANS , J.-K. L’Art moderne/Certains. Paris : U.G.E.,1975. 3. AUGUSTIN D’HIPPONE. Quinzième et Seizième Sermons pour la décollation de saint Jean-Baptiste. In Œuvres complètes. t.xi, Bar-le-Duc : L.Guerin,1868. 4. BOCHET, M. Salomé. Du voilé au dévoilé. Métamorphoses littéraires et artistiques d’une figure biblique. Paris : Les Éditions du Cerf, 2007. 5. Borie, J. Huysmans, le diable, le célibataire et Dieu. Paris : Grasset, 1991. 6. LOCMANT, P. Huysmans, le forçat de la vie. Paris : Bartillat, 2007. 7. MARCHAL, B. Salomé entre vers et prose (Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Flaubert, Huysmans. Paris : J.Corti, 2005.
    • Safara, UFR de Lettres & Sciences Humaines, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal, n°11, janvier 2012 Under the Palaver Tree (Miscellanesous Contributions) Lenrie Peters: The Eagle-Eyed Socio-Political Observer Pierre GOMEZ* Dr. Lenrie Peters is one of the premier writers to come out of The Gambia within the last century. Peters wrote primarily in the 1960s and 70s and published three noteworthy collections of poetry entitled Satellites, Poems and Katchikali. He also published other works including a novel called the Second Round. And in all his works, Peters writes very emphatically about the African predicament as he perceives it. Thanks to his vocation as a medical doctor, his works are heavily tinted with images of the human body to highlight the problems he sees. This proved to be a very effective way of “diagnosing” the problem with the African social and political atmosphere which is his primary concern. In all three of his poetry collections, Peters uses his pen to identify the ills of his society and proffers possible solutions to them. The combination of medical knowledge, biting wit and kin insight into the society makes Peters’ literary contribution invaluable when it comes to understanding the problems Africa is facing. Peters’ poetry is preoccupied with a host of themes central to his perception of the world. Peters is disgusted with many politicians in Africa, a feeling he unequivocally communicates in his * Senior Lecturer & Ag Dean School of Arts and Sciences, The University of The Gambia.
    • 122 Pierre GOMEZ: Lenrie Peters: A Socio-political Observer poem entitled Plea to Mobutu. He despises the effects of colonialism within African societies and is, in an equal measure, alarmed by the lack of programmes inherent in many an African system since the advent of independence and is disappointed by the unfulfilled potential of the African continent. With this in mind, he believes that the way forward is through writing, unity of ideas, unity of people, unity of the continent and unity of purpose. Peters firmly believes that Africa, perhaps the greatest continent on the planet, has a birthright that it is not fulfilling. The inability to exercise this birthright constitutes Peters’ greatest disappointment in that Africa exists in squalor, decay and violence. But all is not doom and gloom in the mind of the great writer. He is hopeful that the continent can, like a phoenix, raise itself from the ashes of war, social conflicts and decay with which it is now characterised and ascend to its rightful place among the ranks of the great countries of the world. This is Peters’ political posture. His social ideas follow the same pattern of disappointment and hope. Peters’ social submissions are perhaps the most biting of all. Unlike Senghor and other African poets, Peters does not let himself totally seduced by the imagined splendour of African societies. Rather, like a physician, he diagnoses the sicknesses which, placed alongside the good things, are far more apparent and glaring and in definite need of urgent solutions. Peters focuses on the complacency which characterises his society; he despises this almost as much as he despises the politicians who procrastinate the implementation of the possible solutions. The politicians are not the only ones who fall under the verbal lash of Peters’ poetry. The common man is not spared of his rod because he too has a hand in perpetrating the problems that afflict them. Though the social bit of Peters’ literature sometimes intermingles with politics, it loses none of its relevance and continues to hold true in the society which Peters addresses and in many others on the African soil, as many of the issues Peters decries remain issues afflicting today’s Africa.
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 123 Peters is preoccupied with politics in many of his poems but perhaps one of the most important of his politically charged poems is “Where are the banners now» which seals his collection entitled “Poems” to a close. This is one of the most important of his political poems because it is about the entire Africa, which, having freed itself from the yoke of colonialism now wallows in hopeless complacence. The poem begins with “Where are the banners now /which once we carried /When we led the people /to the shrine of freedom”. The poem reminds the reader of the promises and slogans used by freedom activists before the European colonizers evacuated themselves from the continent. The fact that it is a question shows that these slogans of hope, potential and the promise of a free African society have been forgotten in the light of the problems that the continent faces. Peters reveals the failure of African leaders to fulfil their promises and the result is that “the children are cut in pieces / and their cries will still be heard tomorrow.” This demonstrates the violence characterising post-colonial Africa and at the same time warns of the future problems which will grow out of it. All in all the poems depict a situation in which hope has filtered or even failed and in the light of this, the poet calls for a revival of the banners of promise and slogans of hope which once united the African people. There we see the poet’s obsession with unity in that he shows how unity, under those banners, once freed the continent and now this same unity must be summoned to remove Africa out of her current decadence. Earlier in Poems, ‘Open the Gates’ sends a message or suggestion as to how to solve the problems Africans are confronted with. “Open the Gates / To East and West / Bring in all / That’s good and best” is the opening stanza of the poem and it clearly calls on Africa to learn its lessons from the rest of the world. The poem calls for openness to outside ideas not an invitation for the rest of the world to rule. Peters believes that only Africans can heal Africa and this is apparent in the poem as he pleads with Africans to learn from the rest of the world in order to strengthen their own
    • 124 Pierre GOMEZ: Lenrie Peters: A Socio-political Observer society. Peters understands that there is much to do towards improving Africa and ‘Open the Gates’ shows only one of his ideas and how to do it. Later in this same collection ‘We have come home’ highlights the despair felt by those returning to Africa from the war at the apparent helplessness of the continent and the corrupt influence of the foreign war. In the second stanza, Peters depicts the gloomy issues Africa is confronted with “Nights threatens / Time dissolves / and there is no acquaintance / with tomorrow.” The war veterans have come home from “The massacre of the soul” devoid of hope themselves “Singing songs of other lands” wishing only for peace. When they arrive at home, they are confronted by “the lightening flash / and the thundering rain / the famine the drought” and must continue to fight for their dignity. This poem is a valid criticism of the effects of colonialism. The European powers employed Africans in their foreign wars and perpetrated injustices on them until only “The tortured remnants of the flesh remained” crying for dignity. Sadly so, these are but a few of the politically charged poems in the anthology of Peters’ poetry. The rest of the poems express disgust with some African politicians and on the effects of colonialism. The poet calls for improvement in Africa by laying emphasis on the unfulfilled promises which characterize post colonial Africa and suggesting how to improve it all. Peters’ social observation follows the same methodical thought process. He identifies the problems in society, expresses his disgust and disappointment with them and suggests ways of solving the problems. It can be seen here that Peters takes a very medical approach to his poetry, he diagnoses the illness, explains the symptoms and then prescribes a solution. In “Does death so delude us” Peters examines the mindset of his new society. The first stanza depicts the all encompassing “we” following “the hunted tanks […] into the disappearance of facts”; this paints a picture of men departing from reason and plunging themselves headlong into fruitless practices and later into death. This sentiment spills over into the next stanza where Peters shows
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 125 the same “we” “refusing the sun’s welcome hand” and “Preferring the refuse-littered shore lunatic abyss”. This indicates that “we” are architects of the problems around us and thus proceed unwittingly toward death. The question “Does death so delude us?” buttresses this as it gives the impression that “we” presumably Africans are plodding like drones toward death by refusing to acknowledge the issues that ensure this death. This is very powerful in that the poet identifies the people as one of the main contributors to the problems in society. Here it is not the government or the colonialist who are spurring Africans toward the “lunatic abyss” but the people who chose to ignore the issues. Earlier in “Poems”, “After they put down their overalls”, identifies several of the main problems which are presumably ignored in “Does Death delude us”. The poem depicts men who when the work is finished “do not return to the women /After they have bathed /Isatu with hyena’s thirst /they run to the open air bar /to swallow the hook of imported liquor.” Obsession with liquor is a problem in any society but Peters depicts in this poem how it negatively affects the world around the drinkers. The wives of these snared by the “hook of imported liquor” remain unsatisfied and unhappy and the men themselves remain stagnant. This complacency is one of Peters’ main gibes against Africans. The hours they spend being “hypnotized by the bus” are hours that could have been spent improving the world around them or doing their basic duty to society. This complacency is again decried in “Stand up for yourselves”. Peters pleads with Africans to stop being the “fettle, uninformed /worka-day public” and to include themselves in the discussions concerning their own culture. He asks them to play a part in their own development, to “not hesitate to plead /for what you need” and to stand up for themselves for discussions that concern them. He wants Africans to take the initiative and take charge of the issues which have for so long been dominated by outsiders, by “Men who have fled too long and too quickly.” Peters desperately needs Africans to do what this poem commends, to stand up for themselves and take their destiny into their own hands because if they do not they will never be free from being “bought and sold.”
    • 126 Pierre GOMEZ: Lenrie Peters: A Socio-political Observer In Kachikally Peters again emphasizes the need for Africans to take responsibility for their problems and work towards finding solutions to them. In “You Talk To Me of “Self”’ perhaps the most striking of Peters’ poems on the African society the author ridicules the idea of the magnificent African beauty written by the Senegalese poet, Senghor. Peters depicts an African defined by “squalor [and] degradation” which is indeed the reality of many African villages. Peters commends his readers to see this reality rather than the imaginary resplendent beauty depicted in Senghor’s poetry. He commends his readers to see the problems so that they can be focused. The poem requires Africans to accept the problems which to this day plague the continent rather than see the shiny beauty which is a rather cosmetic reality of Africa. It forces the reader and those who may be tempted to ignore the problem to take responsibility for the situation and fix it. The last stanza is a powerful new definition of ‘self’, characterised by ignorance not by beauty. “Walking in the dark” again calls to light one of the main problems which weigh down most Africans, the lack of electricity. In the poem, a physician gropes in the dark for his medical equipment upon receiving a call for help but is unable to heed that call because he cannot see to collect his things. This poem falls into both social and political realms. Another poem which falls into both of these categories is “Kachikalli”, this time not as the title of a book, but as a poem. The poem chronicles the history of the sacred crocodile pool in Bakau which at one point in history was a revered spiritual site but now a tourist attraction. The poem laments the fact that people of the Gambia have allowed this sacred place to lose its sanctity. Peters shows here that the world Kachikalli used to give life to is crumbling and everything withering around it. He is presumably crying out to the god who used to inhabit the pool to return to the site and restore its mysticism. Peters blames both society and the tourism industry for allowing this to happen. By
    • Safara, Université G. B., Saint-Louis, n° 11, Janvier 2012 127 commercialising Kachikalli, the pool has been stripped of its powers. Consequently, as society crumbles, the people have nothing more to do but cry. Peters poems “It is Time for Reckoning Africa” calls on the people to stop being complacent, to stop tolerating the lack of progress and step up and seize what is theirs. The poem talks about the many injustices Africans have tolerated at the hands of some politicians who perpetuate “disorder, incompetence and self defeat”. The poem is purely political in that it accuses politicians (of course not all politicians) of being the ones who are arresting the progress of the African soil. He deftly describes them as vultures who feed on eggs, a metaphor through which politicians are seen to be the ones consuming the future of Africa. The first line in the second stanza calls on Africans to stop condoning this untoward behaviour of their politicians and to confront them during the time of reckoning. Finally, in “The weaver birds are nesting”, Peters offers a solution to the problems he identifies. Work is the answer and the weaver birds are Peters cherished metaphorical medium to portray this idea. The weaver birds work all day to build their nests. Therefore Africans must wake up now to build their societies. Like the weaver birds, Africans must work tirelessly to build their own homes. The fact that Peters chooses the birds implies yet again the need for unity in this endeavour. The birds become the primary examples of what Africans should be like: they should be working non-stop to guarantee a better tomorrow. That is Peters’ trusted solution to the problems the continent is faced with. Peters, very effectively, uses his poetry to identify the problems in his society. With the precision and skill of a surgeon, his other profession, the good doctor diagnoses the problem, explains the symptoms and prescribes a solution. This direct nononsense type of social criticism is exactly what is needed in Africa as the problems Peters talks about are becoming only too glaring.
    • 128 Pierre GOMEZ: Lenrie Peters: A Socio-political Observer Sleep well, dear Doctor! Africa is listening and perhaps ready to lay down the “bayonets” and say, there will be time To take a fellow By the shoulder saying “We two are common citizens Without tribe, caste, nation, race Without the mischievous Cloak of fiscal shrouds” Time to dip clean fingers In the bowl together Unity of God
    • INSTRUCTIONS AUX CONTRIBUTEURS 1. Bibliographie La présentation bibliographique doit suivre les normes cidessous spécifiées : -Romaine, Suzanne. Language in Society. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1978. -Senghor, L. S. Liberté: Négritude et Civilisation de l’universel., Paris : Seuil, 1974. -Jack, Belinda. “Strategies of Transgression in the Writings of Assia Djebbar.” Essays on African Writing 2 : Contemporary Literature. Ed. Abdulrazak Gurnah. Oxford: Heinneman, 1995. 19-31. -Le Borgne, J. « Un exemple d’invasion polaire sur la région mauritano-sénégalaise ». Annales de géographie n° 489, 1979 : 522548. 2. Citation Les citations sont isolées à partir de trois lignes. Les citations dans le texte sont appelées par le nom de famille de l’auteur et l’année de publication. Lorsqu’il s’agit d’une citation directe, le numéro de page doit être indiqué. Exemple : (SORIEL 1996), (MELESE 1966, Ch.3) ; COHN 1975, 24-26) 3. Notes de bas de page L’adoption du système ci-dessus implique qu’il y aura peu de notes de bas de page. Elles seront strictement limitées aux remarques supplémentaires indispensables, non incluses dans le texte lui-même. Elles devront être numérotées suivant un ordre séquentiel dans le texte dans une taille de police 10. Toutes les références seront reprises à la fin du manuscrit, en une seule liste. Les noms des auteurs seront classés par ordre alphabétique. Lorsqu’il y a plus d’une publication par auteur, sans collaborateurs, dans la même année, indiquer, par exemple, 1984a, 1984b. 4. Longueur, format et police des articles Le texte doit nous parvenir sur disquette (format Word ou RTF) et sur papier. L’article ne doit pas dépasser 15 pages, y compris la bibliographie. Il est soumis sur papier de format A4 en interligne 1 et demi, et en alignement justifié. Toutes les marges devront être égales à 2,5 cm. La police utilisée sera Times New Roman et la taille des caractères 12. 5. Les opinions émises dans les articles n’engagent que leurs auteurs
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    • La revue SAFARA est le fruit de la coopération technique entre le Sénégal et le Nigéria. Comme l’indique son nom dans sa conception polysémique et translinguistique, « Safara » tient à la fois du Wolof et du Haussa. Dans la première langue, elle dénote pour nous, non pas le feu destructeur, mais celui qui renvoie au « foyer ardent » de L’Aventure Ambiguë de Cheikh Hamidou Kane, emblème de la lumière et du savoir, qui plus est, rappelle l’acte prométhéen. En Haussa, le vocable emprunté de l’arabe signifie « voyage ». Ainsi, Safara se veut porteuse de la pensée scientifique symbolisée par le voyage au sources du savoir.