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Sounding Off: Rhythm, Music, and Identity in West African and Caribbean Francophone Novels

by Julie Huntington

Temple University Press, 2009


Cloth: 978-1-4399-0031-4

eISBN: 978-1-4399-0033-8

Paper: 978-1-4399-0032-1

About the Book
Intrigued by "texted" sonorities—the rhythms, musics, ordinary noises, and sounds of language in narratives—Julie Huntington examines the soundscapes in contemporary Francophone novels such as Ousmane Sembene's God's Bits of Wood (Senegal), and Patrick Chamoiseau's Solibo Magnificent (Martinique). Through an ethnomusicological perspective, Huntington argues in Sounding Off that the range of sounds —footsteps, heartbeats, drumbeats—represented in West African and Caribbean works provides a rhythmic polyphony that creates spaces for configuring social and cultural identities.

Huntington’s analysis shows how these writers and others challenge the aesthetic and political conventions that privilege written texts over orality and invite readers-listeners to participate in critical dialogues—to sound off, as it were, in local and global communities.
About the Author
Julie Huntington is an Assistant Professor of French at Marymount Manhattan College.

"Huntington’s emphasis on the interconnections of the related arts—music, poetry, fiction, oral tradition etc.—is one of the few to treat systematically, and in a sound, sophisticated theoretical and ethnographic framework, the important traits of African literary, oral and musical productions. Sounding Off will make a great contribution to the interdisciplinary study and thus provide a deeper understanding of musical and literary-artistic productions in African and diasporan communities." 
—Daniel Avorgbedor, Ohio State University, Columbus

African Soundscapes, Sound in literature, Rhythm in literature, African fiction (French), Sounding Off, African, Ethnomusicology, Identity, Music, History and criticism, Literary Criticism
Open Access Information

License: CC BY-NC-ND