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Henri Lopes and the postcolonial riddle of métis identity

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This study explores recent discussions surrounding the concept of métissage as a term which, though it may no longer be appropriate to describe the cultural hybridity of the postmodern or postmodern context, still carries significant traces of historical practices of oppression, psychological disturbances, sexual exploitation and struggles for the survival of cultural identities. An examination of some of the ideological, mythical and symbolic structures of métissage allows us to envisage ways in which these traces may translate into literary forms. Two novels of Henri Lopes - Le Chercheur d’Afriques and Le Lys et le Flamboyant - are themselves explorations of métissage that playfully interrupt our perceptions of racial and cultural identity without ever giving up on their métis characters’ desire for cultural belonging. The results are both aesthetically challenging and suggestive of a continuing malaise in postcolonial African literatures.

Keywords: belonging; creolization; hybridity; identity; masks; mythology; métissage; postcolonial

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of British Columbia

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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