Francophone postcolonialism from Eastern Europe

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This article draws from recent research that makes an argument for studying literature from what David Chioni Moore calls the post-Soviet sphere under the rubric of postcolonial theory. It contends that conceiving of countries formerly under Soviet rule as having some characteristics in common with countries once under French colonial rule can yield productive results. It is quite possible that the concentration in literary studies on relations between the First and Third Worlds has left a void with respect to the Second World, at least with respect to francophone writers. We can begin to fill this void by studying texts in French by writers from places formerly under Soviet domination, and this article examines the fictional and theoretical works of Julia Kristeva, Agota Kristof, Milan Kundera, Andre Makine and Brina Svit. Their insights are used here to explore the extent to which intellectuals from small Central and Eastern European countries find themselves in a postcolonial position politically and linguistically similar to that of francophone scholars and writers from the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa or the Antilles.

Keywords: Andre Makine; Eastern Europe; European Union; Milan Kundera; borders; francophonie; postcolonialism; translation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Notre Dame.

Publication date: November 15, 2007

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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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