09 juin 2015

The Other Side of Jordan. Modernism and African Decolonization in Margaret Laurence’s Oeuvre

Séminaire du glossaire numérique 2014-2015 - Le discours de la globalisation

En association avec la Société d’Etudes Modernistes

Lorenzo Mari

Post-doctorant, Université de Bologne, boursier Fernand Braudel IFER/FMSH, UMR THALIM/ARIAS, LabEx TransferS

Whereas the interpretation of Margaret Laurence’s oeuvre is often caught in the oscillation between a pre-eminently realist aesthetics and a feminist, modernist ideology, this paper focuses on the blurring of boundaries between these two positions as an essential move towards a different understanding of her oeuvre. Such a shift in perspective might be appreciated through an analysis of Laurence’s own “version” of modernism, which can be assessed both on the aesthetic and the political level. Starting from her first novel – This Side Jordan (1960) – and her collection of essays about postcolonial Nigerian literature – Long Drums and Cannons (1968) – this paper aims to retrace a modernist construction of characters and narratives in many of her novels, as well as the political and cultural impact of African decolonization on her writing as fitting with the most important issues of postcolonial African modernism.


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