Telling otherwise : rewriting history, gender, and genre in Africa and the African diaspora

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Telling otherwise : rewriting history, gender, and genre in Africa and the African diaspora

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Title: Telling otherwise : rewriting history, gender, and genre in Africa and the African diaspora
Author: Hilkovitz, Andrea Katherine
Abstract: “Telling Otherwise: Rewriting History, Gender, and Genre in Africa and the African Diaspora” examines counter-discursive postcolonial rewritings. In my first chapter, “Re-Writing the Canon,” I examine two works that rewrite canonical texts from the European tradition, Jean Rhys’s retelling of the life of Jane Eyre’s Bertha in Wide Sargasso Sea and Maryse Condé’s relocation of Wuthering Heights to the Caribbean in La migration des coeurs. In this chapter, I contend that re-writing functions not only as a response, as a “writing back” to the canon, but as a creative appropriation of and critical engagement with the canonical text and its worldview. My second chapter, “Re-Storying the Past,” examines fictional works that rewrite events from the historical past. The works that I study in this chapter are Assia Djebar’s recuperation of Algerian women’s resistance to French colonization in L’amour, la fantasia and Edwidge Danticat’s efforts to reconstruct the 1937 massacre of Haitians under Trujillo in The Farming of Bones. In my third chapter, “Re-Voicing Slavery,” I take for my subject neo-slave narratives that build on and revise the slave narrative genre of the late eighteenth- through early twentieth- centuries. The two works that I examine in this chapter are Sherley Anne Williams’s Dessa Rose and the poem sequence Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip, based on the 1781 murder of Africans aboard the slave ship Zong. My fourth chapter, “Re-Membering Gender,” examines texts that foreground the processes of re-writing and re-telling, both thematically and structurally, so as to draw attention to the ways in which discourses and identities are constructed. In their attempts to counter masculinist discourses, these works seek to re-inscribe gender into these discourses, a process of re-membering that engenders a radical deconstruction of fixed notions of identity. The works that I read in this chapter include Daniel Maximin’s L’Isolé soleil, which privileges the feminine and the multiple in opposition to patriarchal notions of single origins and authoritative narrative voices and Maryse Condé’s Traversée de la Mangrove, which rewrites Patrick Chamoiseau’s novel Solibo Magnifique so as to critique the exclusive nature of Caribbean identity in his notion of créolité.
Department: Comparative Literature
Subject: Rewriting Telling otherwise Counter-discourse Postcolonial intertextuality Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea Maryse Condé La migration des coeurs Assia Djebar L’amour, la fantasia Edwidge Danticat The Farming of Bones Sherley Anne Williams Dessa Rose M. NourbeSe Philip Zong! Daniel Maximin L’Isolé soleil Patrick Chamoiseau Solibo Magnifique Traversée de la Mangrove
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2011-08-3995
Date: 2011-08

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