“Short Reference List: Francophone African writers and the Problem of Western Colonialism,

“A Short Reference List: Francophone African writers and the Problem of Western Colonialism”

If you have an interest on how West African (Francophone) writers and intellectuals have responded to European colonization and civilization, and christian mission, here are some major or classic novels on the subject matter, written from 1950s-1970s:

1. “Le Pauvre Christ de Bomba” (1956; “The Poor Christ of Bomba”), and “Le Roi Miraculé” (1958; “King Lazarus”) by Mongo Beti (Cameroon)

2. “Mission terminée” (1957; “Mission to Kala” and “Mission Accomplished”) by Monbo Beti (Cameroon)

3. “Main basse sur le Cameroun” (1972; “Rape of Cameroon”) by Monbo Beti (Cameroon)

4. “Une Vie de boy” (1956; “Houseboy”) by Ferdinand Léopold Oyono (Cameroon)

5. “Le Vieux Nègre et la médaille” (1956; “The Old Man and the Medal”) by Ferdinand Léopold Oyono (Cameroon)

6. “Les Soleils des indépendances” (1968; “The Suns of Independence”) by Ahamadou Kourouma (Ivory Coast)

7. “Le Docker noir” (1956; “Black Docker”); “Ô pays, mon beau peuple! (1957; “O My Country, My Good People”), and “Les Bouts de bois de Dieu” (1960; “God’s Bits of Wood”) by by Ousmane Sembène (Senegal)

8. “Une si longue lettre” (1979; “So Long a Letter”) by Mariama Bâ (Senegal)

9. “Entre Les Eaux” (1973; “Between Tides”), and “Le Bel immonde” (1976; Before the Birth of the Moon”) by Valentin-Yves Mudimbe (V. Y.) Mudimbe (Democratic Republic of Congo)

10. “L’Enfant noir” (1953; “The African Child” or “The Dark Child”), and “Le Regard du roi” (1954; “The Radiance of the King”) by Camara Laye (Republic of Guinea)

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Bonus Texts

***The following historical texts (first two books on the list) are of enormous importance to understand the historical trajectories and politics of European-French colonialism in West Africa:

a) “A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930” (1997) by Alice L. Conklin

b) “Races on Display: French Representations of Colonized Peoples, 1886-1940” (2008) by Dana S. Hale

***The next three books are additional major fictions about the French-West African encounter and the colonial life:

c) “Batouala” (novel; 1921) by Rene Maran” (Martinique)

*** Rene Maran was the first black writer to win the prestigious French literary prize, the Prix Goncourt.

d) “L’Aventure Ambique” (1961; Ambigious Adventure”) by Cheikh Hamidou Kane (Senegal)

e) Climbié (1956), and “Un Nègre à Paris” (1959) by Bernard Binlin Dadié (Ivory Coast)

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