Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



My dissertation " Folie et stratégies d'évasion dans les romans postcoloniaux au Maghreb (Maroc-Algérie) et à l'Île Maurice." argues that madness is a universal theme in the postcolonial context by Maghrebian and Mauritian women authors such as Nadia Chafik, Leïla Marouane, Nina Bouraoui, Ananda Devi, Nathacha Appanah, Marie-Thérèse Humbert. We include Tahar Ben Jelloun, Patrick Chamoiseau and Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio because of their approach to gender, feminine and masculine.

This research is not a question of making a psychoanalytic study of madness, but of a literary analysis of this theme in the texts of our corpus. We focus on the meanings of madness in literary texts and the characteristics of female characters suffering from it. We study fictional narratives by women who struggle against the violence and patriarchy inherent in traditional society. We highlight the strategies allowing to grief through the subtlety of their texts.

We see why this theme, linked to confinement and violence, is central to the novels of writers in the Maghreb and the Mascarenes, and more specifically to Mauritius. We show that madness appears as the only response to violence and confinement because madness is liberating and allows the female characters to free themselves and to appropriate a new status.

Our aim is to show how these writers transform violence, and how madness is an essential element in freeing themselves from the social limits imposed in certain traditional patriarchal societies that condemn women to confinement, social, physical and psychological. The novels of our corpus are situated in a traditional context, either Arab-Muslim in the Maghreb or in Indian society in Mauritius.

This theme is not recent in literature, over the centuries and different geographical spaces, but we will focus more particularly on the literary rupture of a new generation of Francophone female writers.



Committee Chair

Ngandu, Pius