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Narrations de l'altrit l'le Maurice

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Using several twentieth-century Mauritian novels that stage the difficulties inherent in the island's social order and evoke the formation of possible new social links, this study focuses on the representation of otherness in the culture of the island. Literature has long served in Mauritius as an important locus for the definition and discussion of the nature and content of forms of sociality and what is termed here being-together. The works of the intellectual and social elite that were published in the pre-independence years, between 1920 and 1968, were crucial in the formation of values. Since the 1970s, new writings and the re-evaluation of history have challenged dominant interpretations by exposing race, ethnic and gender issues within national debates. The four literary texts discussed here underscore a more layered and plural vision of existing social conditions and the forms of togetherness they generate. These novels provide a key that allows for the decoding of a multiplicity of intersecting, juxtaposed or opposed worlds in which the representations of self and other are dialectically constructed and deconstructed, whether the other is close or distant and whether the fictional circumstances are those of rejection, fascination and/or appropriation. These fictional representations foreground the question of otherness, and the methodology used in this article consists in analyzing the mechanisms of negation of the other that play themselves out in the social contexts and the symbolic space of the literary narrative.

Keywords: altrit; appartenance nationale; imaginaire; littrature mauricienne; vivre-ensemble

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (MSH)/Paris Nord.

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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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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