Date of Award

January 1940

Degree Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This study of the Negro in the novels of Rene Maran, Frances most prominent contemporary Negro author, is one of several being made at Atlanta University on the Negro in French literature. This attempt to-show how a Negro, the only one ever to receive the Prix Goncourt, portrays his African brothers, is the first American study of Rene Maran's novels. It is hoped that it will be a modest contribution to an almost unexplored field in French literature and that other students of France and her culture will be inspired to make a more extensive study of Rene Maran and his works. The first chapter is devoted to the life of Rene Maran and a discussion of his style and most important works. The second chapter presents the physical characteristics of the Negro as portrayed by Rene' Maran. Emphasis is placed on physical appearance, tribal marks, dress, disease and odors which seem to be especially characteristic of the Negro. The third chapter is devoted to the social characteristics of the Negro with emphasis on home life, food, religion, feasts, and governments. The last chapter will present a summary of the findings of this study. The appendix includes short synopses of each of the novels with Negro characters, and a latter from Monsieur Maran to the writer. aIt is to be regretted that such a small amount of material has been written on Rene Maran. Because of his modesty he has written even less about himself. Biographical material consists principally of Leon Bocquet's "Preface" to le Petit Roi de Chimerie, a fairy story by Rene Maran; le Coeur serre, an autobiography written as a novel; several articles which have appeared in periodicals and the forementioned letter from Monsieur Maran. First editions of all novels, with exception of Le Livre de la brousse, were used. As the latter was unavailable, the second edition (1937) was used. Rene Maran's most important novels on Africa, Batouala, Djouma, Chien de brousse, Le Journal sans date end le Livre de la brousse have been studied. The novelettes Bokorro and Bassarragba have also been used as references but the longer novels have constituted our major interest. Le Petit Roi de Chimerie , though it contains no Negro characters, was quoted because of one excellent example of Rene Maran's style. Less stress has been placed on Le Journal sans date because only one of its characters is a Negro. The writer sincerely appreciates the kindness and help of Rene Maran, whose letter was a source of constant encouragement.

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