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Odyssey of a double consciousness: commonalities and disjunctions in contemporary French Caribbean and Runionese novels

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Despite their geographical distance, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Runion tend to produce literary texts with striking commonalities. This can be explained to some extent by the islands' shared experience of slavery and French colonialism and their subsequent 1946 departmentalization. This common background has allowed the development of a literature which foregrounds an acutely felt need to redefine an island identity. This article explores the intermediary position of the characters in Guadeloupean Gisle Pineau's L'Exil selon Julia and Chair piment, Martinican Tony Delsham's Ngropolitains et Euro-blacks, and Runionese Axel Gauvin's Faims d'enfance and Train fou, as the latter negotiate between historic amnesia and cultural memory in an attempt to achieve what Roland Walter calls a double vision.
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Keywords: Exile; French Caribbean; Runion; cultural memory; double consciousness; memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wales, Swansea.

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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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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