Of Suffocated Hearts and Tortured Souls

Of Suffocated Hearts and Tortured Souls : Seeking Subjecthood Through Madness in Francophone Women's Writing of Africa and the Caribbean

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Female characters who suffer madness and insanity are strikingly prominent in novels by women writers of Africa and the Caribbean. To find out why there are so many "suffocated hearts and tortured souls" in this literature, Valerie Orlando, who has long studied Francophone text and culture, here closely reads the work of Aminata Sow Fall, Mariama Ba, Myrian Warner-Vieyra, and Simone Schwarz-Bart, among others. In these women's novels, Orlando finds, madness is the manifestation of a split identity, and in this study she sets herself the task of interrogating the nature of that identity. Francophone women novelists of Africa and the Caribbean-though they come from countries whose unique experiences of colonialism, revolution, and postcolonial regimes have shaped specific and discrete cultures-express a common search for a meaningful relationship between their experience as women to the history and destiny of their nations. Only when "woman"' is understood not as an ahistorical object but as a subject whose lived body is entwined with political, cultural, and economic structures, Orlando argues, will insanity finally give way to clarity of being. Interweaving literary citations with theoretical discussion, Suffocated Hearts and Tortured Souls is just as much a masterful explication of profoundly affecting literary work as it is an essential addition to feminist scholarship and theory.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 216 pages
  • 149.9 x 226.1 x 22.9mm | 272.16g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • bibliography, index
  • 0739105639
  • 9780739105634
  • 1,495,455

Review quote

Orlando has brought together a number of sublimely heartwrenching texts by Francophone women writers with thematic aplomb, if you will. The theme of madness and alienation stretch across what would appear to be dissimiliar works, particular in their own cultural milieus yet united in their "Frenchness"-a source of the women writers' psychological angst. -- T Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Hamilton Collegeshow more

About Valerie Orlando

Valerie Orlando is Associate Professor of French, specializing in Francophone Studies, at Illinois Wesleyan University. She is the author of Nomadic Voices of Exile: Feminine Identity in Francophone Literature of the Maghreb (1999).show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Hysterically Speaking: Voices of Abjection, Marginalization, and Insanity in the Feminine Francophone Novel Chapter 2 Preamble: Writing New H(er)stories for Francophone Women of Africa Part 3 State I: Mediating Identity in Foreign Spaces Chapter 4 The Politics of Race and Patriarchy in Suzanne Lascade's Claire-Solange, ame africaine Chapter 5 Home Is Where I Eat My Bread: Multiculturality and Becoming-Multiple in Leila Hoauri's Zeida de nulle part Part 6 State II: Writing in Madness Chapter 7 Self-Loathing, Self-Sacrifice: Michele Lacrosil's Cajou and Myriam Warner-Vieyra's Juletane Chapter 8 Out/inside the Confinement of Cultures: Marie Chauvet's Amour, colere et folie and Mariama Ba's Un Chant eclatant Chapter 9 Rooms and Prisons, Sex and Sin: Places of Sequestration in Nina Bouraoui's La Voyeuse interdite and Calixthe Beyala's Tu t'appelleras Tanga Part 10 State III: Reconciliation: Feminine Utopias Chapter 11 War, Revolution, and Family Matters: Yamina Mechakra's La Grotte eclatee and Hajer Djilani's Et pourtant le ciel etait bleu Chapter 12 Feminine Voices and H(er)stories: Simone Schwarz-Bart's Pluie et vent sur Telumee Miracle and Aminata Sow Fall's Douceurs du bercail Chapter 13 Epilogue: Transgressing Boundaries, Reconstructing Storiesshow more

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