Rumpus in Harlem-Sur Seine: Francophone Crime Fiction Hosting Chester Himes

By Françoise Cévaër.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Diasporic writers Daniel Picouly and Simon Njami are both influenced by Chester Himes in their novels Tête de Nègre (Picouly), L’enfant léopard (Picouly) and Cercueil et Cie (Coffin and Co.) (Njami). They constantly use intertextuality by revisiting the famous crime novels of the African American writer mainly by displacing the famous detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger from New York to Paris and transposing Harlem to France. The plot is used as a background to analyse the situation of Blacks in Western societies prolonging Himes’ problematic which denounced the marginalisation of Blacks in a White America. The work of these two authors is based on a back and forth between America and France. Harlem becomes the spatial and symbolic reference of the Black struggle in western societies. It is finally the representation of a renewed racial marginalisation which unites the writers beyond borders, time and languages.

Keywords: Francophone Literatures, Africa, Caribbean, Crime Fiction, Themes

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 12, pp.79-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 553.249KB).

Dr. Françoise Cévaër

Lecturer, Department Of Modern Languages and Literatures, University of The West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica

Françoise Cévaër has been a lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica since 1997. She first came in Jamaica with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a Linguistic Attaché. She teaches French language at all levels of the Bachelor degree, French Literature and Films, and Francophone Cultures. She always has had an interest in African Literature in French and she has worked on different areas such as publishing of African Literature, identity in African Literature and, more recently, crime fiction. As a foreign language teacher, she has developed an interest in research on Caribbean examinations for French. Her main publication is entitled “Ces ecrivains d'Afrique Noire”, Editions Nouvelles du Sud, 1998.

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