Transmigrational Writings between the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa
Literature, Orality, Visual Arts
Hélène Colette Tissières. Translated by Marjolijn de Jager
In this innovative and skillful study, Hélène Tissières investigates the "circulations" or transmigrations at work among multiple francophone African cultural forms, ranging geographically between North and sub-Saharan Africa, culturally between words and silences, verbally between spoken and written language, and aesthetically between textual and visual images. Hers is one of the first books to challenge established barriers between the two regions, showing how such a division leads to numerous problems in ignoring the various influences and intertwinements that exist between them. To supplement her theoretical argument, she then documents these "transmigrations" in the works of four writers: the Tunisian Abdelwahab Meddeb, the Cameroonian Werewere Liking, the Congolese Tchicaya U Tam’Si, and the Algerian Assia Djebar.
By combining a detailed theoretical study with textual analysis of four major francophone writers, Tissières provides us with an informative work that should encourage students and scholars of francophone African literature to read texts through a new critical lens. This lens provides an interdisciplinary focus that acknowledges the multiple art forms present in postcolonial fiction today.
This book represents an important intervention in African studies. It crosses disciplinary boundaries in an altogether successful effort to demonstrate how these interweavings of culture have marked writings previously studied in the isolation of separate canons. An ambitious and valuable work.
Hélène Colette Tissières is Associate Professor of African Literature and Film at the University of Texas at Austin. Marjolijn de Jager translates from French and Dutch with a particular interest in francophone African women authors.