6. Idées préconçues s’abstenir Welcome to Africa
The rhythm of Batouala’s tom-tom was at variance with the heartbeat of Maran’s preface, and once again the author was misunderstood.646
Even though Maran’s Preface insists that his novel is a succession d’eaux-fortes, rather than a traditional Western novel, readers and critics have nevertheless approached it as a European novel and focused primarily on its content. Sadji, alone, nominates the work’s form as being of overriding importance – or, indeed, of any importance – in Batouala’s uniqueness.647 Senghor, as noted earlier, emphasises the work’s stylistic unity over considerations of content.648
Disproportionate critical focus on Batouala’s controversial Preface has cast a substantial shadow over the entire work, with the result that the novel has never been able to fully emerge to claim the interest and attention it merits. Fayolle provides a cross-section of the opinion that originally judged it a stylistically banal, bewildering and largely irrelevant non sequitur:
[L]e style en est généralement déplorable […] la forme est sans valeur […] cette littérature [est] vraiment trop médiocre […] paysages ternes et incertains […] le pittoresque est cherché en farcissant les phrases de termes indigènes, ce qui est un procédé vraiment trop facile […] le souci d’exotisme se limite presque uniquement à l’emploi de vocables nègres et un lexique à la fin du volume ne serait pas inutile.649
On the final point of incomprehensibility Mille goes further, denigrating the novel’s dialogue as “trop uniformément romantique, lyrique et boursoufflé…On pense à ces singes de...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.