An African in Paris...and New York and Rome Bernard Dadie and the postcolonial travel narrative

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Description: The critical response to travel literature engages questions of location, space, and movement. Many of the journeys studied by critics are those of authors traveling from a presumed western center to an equally constructed nonwestern periphery. This thesis intends to reverse that direction and participate in the deconstruction of the center/periphery binary. It will focus on Bernard Dadié, the Ivorian author who traveled in the middle of the twentieth century to three capitals of western culture: Paris, New York and Rome. Dadié's An African in Paris, One Way: Bernard Dadié Observes New York and The City Where No One Dies represent a unique approach to travel literature, one that breaks with the form and content of more recognized texts. In order to demonstrate Dadié's contribution to and innovation in the genre, this thesis will compare his works to three critically acknowledged texts written by well-known British travelers of the 1930s: Graham Greene's Journey Without Maps, Evelyn Waugh's Labels, and Alec Waugh's Hot Countries. The study will argue that while Greene's journey can be read as a metaphorical map of traditional travel literature, following an accepted path and employing many of the tropes of the genre, Dadié's works cannot be mapped, as their digressions and symbols resemble a meditation more than a narrative. This study will then locate many of the attitudes and strategies of colonizers in the works of the Waugh brothers, and discuss how Dadié's approach critiques and undermines such viewpoints, creating instead a humanistic, postcolonial travel literature.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work