From Francophonie to World Literature in French: Ethics, Poetics, and Politics

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In 2007 the French newspaper Le Monde published a manifesto titled Toward a `World Literature' in French, signed by forty-four writers, many from France's former colonies. Proclaiming that the francophone label encompassed people who had little in common besides the fact that they all spoke French, the manifesto's proponents, the so-called francophone writers themselves, sought to energize a battle cry against the discriminatory effects and prescriptive claims of francophonie. In one of the first books to study the movement away from the term francophone to world literature in French, Therese Migraine-George engages a literary analysis of contemporary works in exploring the tensions and theoretical debates surrounding world literature in French. She focuses on works by a diverse group of contemporary French-speaking writers who straddle continents-Nina Bouraoui, Helene Cixous, Maryse Conde, Marie NDiaye, Tierno Monenembo, and Lyonel Trouillot. What these writers have in common beyond their use of French is their resistance to the centralizing power of a language, their rejection of exclusive definitions, and their claim for creative autonomy.