Transcultural Pathways and the Literary Imagination: French as Incubator and Irritant in Imperial Russia and Postcolonial Africa 公开

Mayerson, Katy (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/5712m7377?locale=zh
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Abstract

With some exceptions, policymakers around the world have developed the tendency to focus solely on the disparate elements of a target culture. In other words, rather than capitalizing upon the commonalities in a diplomatic partnership, legislation often fixates on differences. This thesis is not alone in suggesting that this current model, which privileges disciplinary and quantitative expertise, leaves room for improvement. UNESCO, for example, offers the cultural diversity lens, outlined herein, as a partial but flawed solution. Though work has been done to examine the various implications of the cultural lens, no one has yet considered the question of respectful and truly representative foreign policy from a purely qualitative perspective. Furthermore, few have directly addressed the numerous points of interface between the Russian ideas of culturology and transculture and the American concepts of cultural studies, interdisciplinarity, and integration.

This thesis advocates a shift toward a more interdisciplinary and transcultural approach to international relations and policymaking using francophone literature as a case study. The first chapter details the instrumental role of the French language in the development of Russia's national identity during the Imperial Period. The second chapter describes the problematic prevalence of French in postcolonial Africa, which serves to challenge the privileged status enjoyed by the language in Russia. Six key authors are examined to aid in this juxtaposition: Aleksandr Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy for Russia; and Kateb Yacine, Ousmane Sembène, and Sony Labou Tansi for Africa. These writers act as microcosmic representatives of Russian, Algerian, Senegalese, and Congolese literature, respectively. Finally, viewing reading comprehension as a feasible mode of cultural comprehension, the third chapter compares two exemplary works in Russian and French literature, Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot and Antoine de Saint-Exupèry's The Little Prince. This close reading is designed to demonstrate the value of literature and literary analysis as cultural analytical tools.

Table of Contents

I | Introduction………………………………………………………………….......…………..1

A Fresh Look at the Cultural Lens…………………………………………………....................1

Possibilities for a Paradigm Shift………………………………………….……….....................3

Further Key Concepts.…………………………………………………….....................….….......4

Premise and Structure………………………………………………………….......................….….7

II | An Immortalized Infatuation……………………………………………………….......9

Fickle Francophilia in Imperial Russian Literature………………………………................9

Out of Darkness…………………………………………………….........................................10

The False Frenchman: Pushkin…………….…………………………..................………....…13

The French Frenetic: Dostoevsky………………………………...................………………….16

The Peasant's Polyglot: Tolstoy………………………………………....................…………...17

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………...............................……19

III | Problems in Postcoloniality………………………………………………….………...21

Residues of Forced Francophonie in Postcolonial African Literature….…...….......21

The Hydra's Head…………………………………………………….………...........................……23

The Enfant Terrible: Sony Labou Tansi………………………….................……………..….26

The (Other) False Frenchman: Kateb Yacine……………………….…..............…………..29

The Father of African Cinema: Ousmane Sembène……………………….............……..32

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………...............................34

IV | The Little Princes…………………………………………………........…………………35

Cultural Analysis through Comparative Literature…………..........…………………......35

Rosy Cheeks, Cheeky Roses………………….…………………………………........................38

Tears of a Fox………………………………………………………............................…….………..41

On Death…………………………………………………..............................………………………...44

On Loving-kindness……………………………………………………………………………...……………..45

Of Wealth and Wisdom……………………………………………………………………….......…………46

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………....………48

V | Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………..49

At the Limits of Cultural Expression……………………………………………..…………………...49

Interdisciplinary Relations…………………….…………………………………………...………….…..50

The Value of Literature…………………………………………………………...……………………......51

Future Applications and Further Research…………………………………………....……..…..53

VI | Bibliography…………………………………………………………….......…….....……55

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