Bibliotheque

  Musicman 1    


Senegalese literature at a glance

The introduction of French into Senegal goes back to the 1800s and the few books written in French by Senegalese authors in the 19th century signal the modest beginnings of a written tradition that complemented a flourishing oral tradition. In fact, Senegalese writing goes back to the 18th century and Phillis Wheatley's poetry (1753-84). This young Senegalese woman, snatched from her native land and sold as a slave in America, is considered to be the first black woman to have published a literary work (in English).
In 1850 Lépold Panet, from Gorée published his Relation de voyage de Saint-Louis à Souiera [The Chronicle of Saint-Louis' Voyage to Souiera] in the Revue Coloniale [The Colonial Review]. A few years later, the Abbé Bouillat provided a wealth of information about his era in Esquisses Sénégalaises [Senegalese Sketches]. In 1920, the school teacher Amadou Mapaté published Les Trois volontés de Malic [Malic's Three Wishes] for his pupils. In 1925, Bakari Diallo told of his experiences as a "tirailleur-sénégalais" [Senegalese Infantryman] in Force-Bonté. In the 1930s, both Senghor's poetry and the Negritude Movement gave Senegalese literature an international reputation. After the Second World War, novelists such as Ousmane Soce, Sembene Ousmane (who later also made films), Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Abdoulay Sadji and others developed further a lively literary tradition and popularised Senegalese literature, both within and beyond their own country. Other writers include: Lamine Diakhate, Birago Diop, Cheik Aliou Ndao , Abdoulaye Sadji, Ibrahima Sall and Boubacar Boris Diop who is possibly the best known Senegalese writer of today.

 


It was only after Independence that women began to publish literary material. At first it was only modest booklets such as Annette Mbaye d'Erneville's poetry. But in the mid 1970s, the autobiography of Nafissatou Diallo, poetry by Kiné Kirama Fall and novels by Aminata Sow Fall and Mariama Bâ followed. Also worth mentioning, is a manuscript by Mame Younousse Dieng that was shelved for 20 years by the publisher. From the beginning of the 1980s, a large number of women have contributed to a significant expansion of Senegalese literature : Myriam Warner Vieyra, Aminata Maïga Ka, Tita Mandeleau (who lived for many years in New York), Amina Sow Mbaye, Ken Bugul (who currently lives in Benin), Ndèye Boury Ndiaye, Mariama Ndoye (who currently lives in Tunisia), Khadi Fall, Khady Sylla etc.. At the beginning of the new millenium, women authors continue to published strongly as illustrated by the recent novels of Sokhna Benga, Aïssatou Cissé, Jacqueline Fatima Bocoum, Nafissatou Dia Diouf, Khady Hane, Fama Diagne Sène, Madjiguène Niang, Fatou Diome, Aminata Zaaria, Sanou Lô, ... and also Marie NDiaye (notwithstanding the fact that she was born in France and only retains loose links with her father's country of origin.)

 

Editor (jvolet@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
The University of Western Australia/French

 


Bibliotheque


Copyright 2012. Musicman 1. All rights reserved.