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Abstract

Voicelessness, alienation, confinement, deracination, rupture, exclusion, madness and exile: the thematic preoccupations of Myriam Warner-Vieyra's Juletane are familiar to readers of francophone Caribbean women's writing. The legacy of slavery and 20th century departmentalization have produced a complex politics of identity, whose points of reference and sites of longing—though privileged in a variety of ways in the psyches of Caribbean subjects—are Africa and France. The orphaned protagonist Juletane seeks love in Africa in the heady days before Independence. Warner-Vieyra uses the device of the fictional first-person journal mode to examine Juletane's disillusionment as well as the interplay of colonially-produced cultural differences among Caribbean and West African women in a traditional West African community. One of the effects of this devastating narrative is that Western feminist criticism's universalizing theories about reading and writing appear hopelessly reductive from a contemporary francophone African perspective.

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