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Présence Francophone: Revue internationale de langue et de littérature

Abstract

Critics do not agree on what constitutes the interest of the works of Schwarz- Bart. However, four major tendencies are apparent in the many critical studies of her works: some are interested in the "creole experience" her novels are said to portray, others in the "feminine experience", while others again in the "mythological" dimension and the question of what is borrowed from oral literature. These different approches interpret the works of Schwarz-Bart essentially in the perspective of "testimony" and, even though there is a consensus as to the originality of her writing, there is little analysis of the specific techniques which characterise the aesthetics of Schwarz-Bart, except to conclude that her works achieve an exceptionally successful reconciliation of the conventions of oral and written literature. But is oral literature a literature of "testimony"? The very definition of what constitutes "literarity" in Schwarz-Bart’s works – and perhaps that of Caribbean Literature in general – thus appears to be problematic in the critical readings of the works of this Guadeloupean writer.

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