“There is currently a Madagascan boom in literary production—short stories, novels, plays—that has not yet reached the United States. Voices from Madagascar brings a wide selection of these texts, both in French and English, to the North American public for the first time.”
“In his helpful introduction, Bourgeacq traces the history of Francophone writing, which began in Madagascar around 1930. Recommended for academic and public libraries, this book will be of interest to scholars of Malagasy culture.”
There is currently in Madagascar a rich literary production (short stories, poetry, novels, plays) that has not yet reached the United States for lack of diffusion outside the country. Until recently, Madagascar suffered from political isolation resulting from its breakup with France in the 1970s and the eighteen years of Marxism that followed.
With little hope that their voices would be heard outside the island, writers nevertheless have continued to express themselves in French (alongside a literature written in the Malagasy language). Malagasy literature in French had begun in the colonial era with three poets: Jean–Joseph Rabearivelo, Jacques Rabemananjara, and Flavien Ranaivo, all three presented in Léopold Senghor’s celebrated Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache (1948).
More recently, although a few Malagasy writers living outside the country have been published in France, the bulk of Malagasy literature today has remained largely unpublished, circulating locally mostly in manuscript form. Voices from Madagascar will bring a wide selection of these texts, both in French and in English, to the North American public.
Jacques Bourgeacq is professor of French at the University of Iowa, specializing in African literature for the past twenty-five years. He lived in Madagascar as a child and returned to the island in 1996 on a Fulbright grant to research the Malagasy culture and literature.
Liliane Ramarosoa is on the faculty at the Université d’Antananarivo. She specializes in the literatures of the Indian Ocean and francophone Africa and has lectured widely in that region of the world, as well as in Europe.
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