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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

On-line version ISSN 2309-9070
Print version ISSN 0041-476X


DE MEYER, Bernard. Hospitality in Le Roi de Kahel(The King of Kahel) by Tierno Monénembo: from Pullo identity construction to literary consecration in ParisHospitality in Le Roi de Kahel(The King of Kahel) by Tierno Monénembo: from Pullo identity construction to literary consecration in Paris. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2012, vol.49, n.2, pp.99-109. ISSN 2309-9070.

Taking the notion of hospitality, as defined by Émile Benveniste, as a starting point, this article aims to situate the 2008 novel by Tierno Monénembo, Le Roi de Kahel("The King of Kahel") in the contemporary literary production from Francophone Africa. In a first part, hospitality is viewed as part of an exchange system between the Pullo aristocracy and a French explorer, Olivier de Sanderval, in the second half of the nineteenth century. The notion of pulaaku, as the social and moral code of conduct of the Pullo, seems central in this exchange and is a construct of Pullo identity. The second part aims to show that Monénembo's novel enters in a dialogue with colonial writings and in particular with French ethnography of the twentieth century, being as such hospitable to this discourse. This "textual hospitality", through the quotation of several sources and the description of some notions, including pulaaku, is a way to become accepted in the Parisian literary system. The final part, which is also the conclusion, shows the reciprocity between both conceptions of hospitality. I will argue here that Tierno Monénembo, having a perfect understanding of the prevalent literary field, takes advantage of this knowledge to promote his own writing. This is the reason why he is one of the most prominent postcolonial writers, leading the way for this literature to become integral part of the world republic of letters, as defined by Pascale Casanova.

Keywords : Tierno Monénembo; hospitality; identity construct; pulaaku; literary consecration..

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