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Malcolm de Chazal: De la rception la dception, ou comment devenir metteur mauricien

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Malcolm de Chazal (12 September, 1902 to 1 October, 1981) was educated in the United States at Louisiana State University. He returned to his island home in 1925 and remained there until his death. Chazal played an important role in French literary history when he sent his self-published Sens-Plastique II to a number of French writers, artists and intellectuals. This article contains a detailed description of Chazal's exchanges with Jean Paulhan, Georges Duhamel, Francis Ponge, Aim Patri and Jean Dubuffet in the period from 1947 to 1949. It relates the reception of his work in France and Chazal's subsequent disappointment when this interest was not sustained. The postWorld War II context of French literary life had bearing on his initial positive reception. The particularity of his frames of reference and the inability to assimilate him to literary movements in the French metropolitan context led to his disfavour. Chazal, undiscouraged, turned to Mauritius for his inspiration and continued to be highly productive for the next four decades. The episode is important for following generations of Mauritian writers because it brought Mauritius and the specificity of its literary tradition to the attention of the Francophone world. Moreover, Malcolm de Chazal's writings, especially Sens-Plastique, are canonical elements of the twentiethcentury French literature.
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Keywords: Aim Patri; Georges Duhamel; J.M.G Le Clzio; Jean Dubuffet; Jean Paulhan; Les Cahiers de la Pliade; Malcolm de Chazal; Sens-Plastique

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Louisiana State University.

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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