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Stories from Sub-Saharan Africa: from the tales of oral literature to contemporary novels

Grant number: 12/50101-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2012
Effective date (End): June 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Modern Foreign Literatures
Principal Investigator:Álvaro Silveira Faleiros
Grantee:Fernanda Murad Machado
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The research proposal presented here seeks to establish an overview of the French-language literary production in Sub-Saharan Africa, from its origins in the early decades of the 20th century to current times, focusing on two kinds of brief prose: the tale and the novel. It consists of selecting, translating and critical stages, seeking to enable access to texts that have never been published in Portuguese before and to provide context for the Brazilian reader in terms of a historical and cultural perspective. The choice of tales and novels facilitates the presentation of complete texts that are considered representative of decisive moments in the history of Sub-Saharan written literature. The publishing of the first African authors in France, from the 1920s and 1930s onwards, represent a continuous segment from the subjects and styles of oral literature, and the traditional tale was its dominant genre. The transition to the written form presented, above all, the possibility of preserving and valuing African traditional culture in a period of accelerated change in the social structures. The novel, however, arrived in Africa by means of the influence of the contact with European literature in mid-twentieth-century, and carne to play an important critical and questioning role in the years following the independence of numerous African nations. The analysis of tales and novels is geared towards their authors and their development, underlining their usage of the French language - imposed during the colonial years and currently upheld as the official or quasi-official language of many African countries. Thus, their proximity to or distance from the French spoken in France, their way of embedding linguistic, social and cultural elements in their work, and the different levels of dialogism will be some of the aspects explored and commented in the translation work. (AU)

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