Title page for ETD etd-06092004-172114

Type of Document Dissertation
Author White, Robin Anita
Author's Email Address rwhite5@lsu.edu
URN etd-06092004-172114
Title 19th and 20th Century French Exoticism: Pierre Loti, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Michel Leiris, and Simone Schwarz-Bart
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department French Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Nathaniel Wing Committee Chair
Helen Regis Committee Member
Jack Yeager Committee Member
Kate Jensen Committee Member
Pius Ngandu Committee Member
Kevin Risk Dean's Representative
  • postcolonial French literature
  • colonial French literature
  • exoticism
  • Louis-Ferdinand Celine
  • exotisme
  • postcoloial theory
  • Victor Segalen
  • Edouard Glissant
  • Pierre Loti
  • Michel Leiris
  • Simone Schwarz-Bart
Date of Defense 2004-05-07
Availability unrestricted
This study of four 19th and 20th century colonial texts, as well as a later

postcolonial novel exposes the cadres exotiques, or exotic frameworks, of literary

exoticism. The thesis names and interprets the moods of and reactions to exoticism,

including colonial exoticism, antiexoticism, and autoexoticism. Poetic and theoretical

interpretations of exoticism, such as Victor Segalen’s Notion du Divers and Edouard

Glissant’s Opacité and Poétique de la Relation challenge the prevalent assumptions that

the literary practice was only an unfortunate byproduct of colonialism.

The first chapter presents literary history and theoretical considerations relating

to exoticism: Orientalism, nostalgia, colonial literary history, and a critical literature

review. Chapter II explores Le Roman d’un spahi (1881) and Les Trois dames de la

Kasbah (1882) by Pierre Loti, two texts dating from France’s high colonial period of the

late 19th century. Chapter III studies works and contexts of the 1930s—Louis-Ferdinand

Céline’s Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932) and Michel Leiris’s L’Afrique fantôme (1934).

These modernist texts appeared with the decline of colonial exoticism’s popularity.

conclude with an analysis of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle

(1973), a postcolonial novel about the life of a Creole woman in the former French

colony of Guadeloupe.

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