Maryse Conde is a Guadeloupean writer and critic whose work has
challenged the categories of race, language, gender, and geography
that inform contemporary literary and critical debates. In "Signs
of Dissent, " the first full-length study in English on Conde, Dawn
Fulton situates this award-winning author's work in the context of
current theories of cultural identity in order to foreground
Conde's unique contributions to these discussions. Staging a
dialogue between Conde's novels and the field of postcolonial
studies, Fulton argues that Conde enacts a strategy of "critical
incorporations" in her fiction, imitating and transforming many of
the prevailing narratives of postcolonial theory so as to explore
their theoretical and conceptual limits.
By rejecting the facile classification of her work as
"Caribbean," "African," or "feminist," Conde has gained a
reputation as an iconoclast. But Fulton proposes that behind this
public image of provocation lies an incisive reflection on the
burdens of representation imposed on the non-Western writer, and
that Conde's novels expose the ways in which postcolonial criticism
can be complicit in constructing such burdens even as it questions
them. "Signs of Dissent" offers one of the most comprehensive
assessments of Conde's literary production to date, illuminating
its exceptional role in shaping a dialogue between francophone
studies and the English-dominated field of postcolonialism.
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