Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/933121
- René Maran's "Batouala", jazz-text
- University of Newcastle. Faculty of Education & Arts, School of Humanities and Social Science
- Research Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- The following thesis reappraises René Maran’s Batouala from a literary point of view, having regard for its historical, political and social dimensions only insofar as they coincide with examination of the work’s literary merits. It posits that the polemic debate excited by the novel’s controversial Preface, which has conditioned an enduring, near-universal acceptance of a disjunction of Preface and novel, is symptomatic of dichotomously-based Western thinking. A jazz-text reading reveals that Batouala’s challenge to the overarching civilisedversus-savage dichotomy is enacted through the prism of its offshoots, namely form-versuscontent and music-versus-narrative, thereby issuing a challenge to the nature of dichotomy itself. The analogy is drawn with jazz, another integration of music-narrative which bridges European and African civilisations. The first three chapters provide an overview of Batouala’s reception and examine the historical, political, social and literary influences which have conditioned criticism from that time up to the present. The second section examines the ambiguity for which the work is widely criticised and demonstrates Batouala’s lucidity and coherence when viewed as jazztext and jazz performance. Chapter 4 looks at European and African attitudes towards narrative and musical expression, exposing Batouala’s and jazz’s shared underpinnings in African ontology. Chapter 5 discusses the Preface’s jazz-text style and introduces the black rhetorical strategy, Signifyin(g), employed throughout the work. Chapter 6 explores the nature of le style nègre in the novel proper, while chapters 7 and 8 respectively link music and narrative to concepts of ‘civilised’ and ‘savage’ and examine the textual repercussions. Chapter 9 explores Batouala’s jazz-text integration of the two civilisations’ philosophical approaches in cross-rhythmic call-and-response through the metaphors of water-centric African ontology and European civilisation’s fiery inferno. The present jazz-text reading of Batouala creates a new paradigm for Maran studies and renegotiates a literary reputation unfairly constrained and defined by its ‘shadow’.
- University of Newcastle Research Higher Degree Thesis
- Resource Type
- Copyright 2012 Susan Allen