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Towards the Retrieval of the Lost Voice

Contestation and Reclamation of Discourse in Half a Century of African Women's Europhone Fiction

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Propelled by politics, sub-Saharan African women's fiction witnessed a phenomenal growth in the twentieth century. On the basis of African women's primary role in early child education and the transmission of oral literature, their creative writing, after their exclusion from the public sphere, represents attempts at the re-appropriation of lost literary space and discursive power. This essay seeks to study the contestatory elements constitutive of the literary production by African women writers from the late 1940 s to the end of the twentieth century. The essay establishes that two phases emerge from this creativity. First, between 1947 and 1974, female African women's writing is marked by the politicization of the domestic. In the second cycle, spanning the period 1975–2000, feminist African creative writing is characterized by the deepening and radicalization of the already politicized private realm.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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