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Présence Francophone: Revue internationale de langue et de littérature

Abstract

According to Mikhail Bakhtin, the material and corporeal “lower stratum” includes the symbols that refer to the nether regions of the human body. By adopting this approach to writing in a dictatorship, Labou Tansi most likely wanted to protect his work and himself from possible reprisals by his country’s political authorities. More importantly, however, this move constitutes a strategy of subversion of Marxist ideology: the focus on the material and corporal “lower stratum” (indistinguishable from the carnivalesque) is a form of resistance to what Bakhtin calls official discourse, and becomes a way of reclaiming the writer’s literary autonomy.

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