Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 February 2021
This chapter provides a critical overview of how Sub-Saharan Francophone Africans have engaged with the form of the novel from the period of decolonization to the first decades of the new millennium. It is meant for readers new to the Sub-Saharan Francophone novel and for those needing an updated overview of the major periods and authors that have brought visibility and coherence to the field. It is organized chronologically to combine classic literary historiography and highlights for each period landmark publications, thematic continuities, and formal innovations. It also offers contextual insights underscoring the specificity of novelistic production in a variety of African postcolonial situations. In each case these developments follow the imperative to represent African realities within a language—and often literary models—imposed by a colonial power: France. The chapter offers an updated reassessment of previous literary historiographies, insisting not only on formal considerations, but also on the evolution of the cultural status of the African novel across periods and in various literary markets. It includes a final section on contemporary ‘turns’ which further expose some of the recent developments, both formal and sociological, that have contributed to the most spectacular refashionings of novelistic production in the twenty-first century.
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