Francophone Crime Fiction

43B :  Aspects of French Culture
Spring 2022
Class No: 30374
83 Dwinelle
Karl Britto
12:30-2 pm

In recent decades, many postcolonial authors writing in French have produced novels that engage with a variety of sub-genres within the field of crime fiction, including the “hardboiled” detective novel, the roman noir, and the serial killer novel. What might account for this literary turn toward the dystopian, toward texts constructed around mysteries and often marked by shocking descriptions of extreme violence? In what ways do the genres of crime fiction allow writers to engage with long and complex colonial and post-colonial histories, and to address issues of social, political, and economic injustice? How do postcolonial writers push the generic boundaries of crime fiction, and to what ends? In this class, we will discuss these questions through a consideration of a variety of novels and films with links to France, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean. A comparative approach will allow us to understand postcolonial texts alongside and against earlier narratives of crime. Authors considered will likely include Ousmane Sembène, Driss Chraïbi, Patrick Chamoiseau, Didier Daeninckx, Yasmina Khadra, and Alain Mabanckou. Readings and discussions in English.