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Pascale Casanova’s works are characterized by a very specific intellectual project, style, tone, and ethos. Taking a science des oeuvres approach (Pierre Bourdieu), this chapter aims to bring out their critical dimension. It links together the way her writing evolved – a situated “formal reality” “between a language and a style” (Roland Barthes) – and her demanding and atypical intellectual trajectory at the intersection of academia, the media, and literary criticism. Her works, taken in the context of some of the stakes, forms, and routines that go with writing in these various fields, are firstly envisaged as forming a whole (in terms of theoretical postulates, relationship to readers, general configuration, and formal characteristics) that allowed an openly embraced critical verve progressively to unfold. I then highlight the value of this type of writing, in the sense of how rare it is, and also its cost, insofar as it can come at a price in terms of social trajectory.

In: Pascale Casanova’s World of Letters and Its Legacies


In an era where cultural festivals multiply, so-called African festivals have spread in Africa, but also outside of the continent, in major cities as well as in little-known villages, for example in provincial France. What are some of their implications and effects in the case of francophone African literature? These events privilege a continental representation of literature, which often reveals itself as problematic when confronted with the complex geographies of the texts and authors represented at these festivals. Using cross-disciplinary methodology, this critical inquiry reads different reallocations of this persistent African matrix through a typology and contemporary examples (Kossi Efoui’s writings, the “Étonnants Voyageurs” and “Plein sud” festivals). As an object of study, festivals bear witness to the necessity of expanding the toolbox of the (world) literary scholar by making use of documentary sources and adopting ethnographic approaches. It reveals a structural tension between an African map and various concrete territories, where local issues matter often more than this continental category, and can affect the form and content of literature itself.

In: Journal of World Literature