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French Studies Advance Access





Published: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 05:53:41 GMT

 



The Landscape to the South: EugÈne Fromentin and The Postcolonial Nineteenth Century

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Postcolonial critics and novelists have brought a new readership to the travel writer and exotic-landscape painter Eugène Fromentin. In turn, the Algerian narratives of this particularly articulate and artistic traveller help us to uncover a postcolonial nineteenth century. A postcolonial study of how history and travel description are linked in Fromentin’s treatment of landscape shows us that histories still matter, and that postcolonial theory needs the scholarly construct of a francophone nineteenth century in order to think about them. While Fromentin’s paintings present a timeless, immobile Orient, his prose writing ostensibly rejects a historical approach but, through mute traces marking the landscape, reinstates Algeria in the context of the recent, and bloody, colonial past. This article argues that, rather than simply perpetuating Orientalism, Fromentin’s travel writing is a form of postcolonial history.



‘WE WERE ALL STRANGERS HERE’: TIME, SPACE, AND POSTCOLONIAL ANXIETY IN TRAVERSAY’S LES AMOURS DE ZÉMÉDARE ET CARINA, ET DESCRIPTION DE L’ÎLE DE LA MARTINIQUE

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
A sense of dislocation, unsettlement, and exile — what V. S. Naipaul calls the ‘enigma of arrival’ — was the destiny of all who migrated to the Antilles under the plantation regime, although this enigma was experienced in radically different ways by masters and slaves. While much scholarship exists on how ‘black’ writers engaged with space and time in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, earlier Antillean writers have generally not been interrogated in terms of their exploration of the chronotopes of island and plantation. For these writers, fiction was a medium through which to explore and accentuate the exotic: nineteenth-century novels routinely present idealized, mysterious, magical, or forbidding landscapes. Fiction also provided a powerful vehicle for domesticating the alien, through a pronounced recourse to (apparently) objective detail and quantifiable data. This article examines the first known, and almost entirely neglected, Martiniquan novel, Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina, a novel that exemplifies this tension between the urge to make strange and the urge to chart, define, and explain. In its treatment of time — in particular its use of prolepsis — and in the presentation of space — gardens, trees, geological formations — the novel exemplifies the ambivalence and anxiety so commonly identified with more recent postcolonial writing.