Présence Francophone: Revue internationale de langue et de littérature


By focusing on Tierno Monénembo’s L’aîné des orphelins and Abdourahman A. Waberi’s Moisson de crânes, this article illustrates how modernity can be seen as a reflection on language. Having in mind Baudelaire’s conception of modernity (which was defi ned in his writings about the painter Constantin Guys), we demonstrate that the representation of the Rwandan genocide, in both books, involves a singular mise en scène of language. At first, language is seen through the lens of its destructive power; then, as a cure against evil. Indeed, since it involves a distorted perception of reality, language appears to be a vehicle for alienation. But it is also what binds people together to face adversity and what eestablishes a human feeling after the horror. It is from this strange paradox touching language that Monénembo and Waberi elaborate their fictional world – a point of view on the events of 1994 that is both a critical distancing and a way for empathy.



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