Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of French Studies

Document Type



This work analyzes the issue of dissent in Werewere-Likings’s writings. It aims to show that Werewere-Liking is a nonconformist writer. We demonstrate this along two main points: the study of the relationship between memory, dissent, and Orphic philosophy on the one hand; and the analysis of the divergences between Western theatre and African theatrical aesthetics on the other hand. The texts by this author present influences from the myth of Orpheus from ancient Greece. Having noted this, we use orphism, a revolutionary philosophy inspired by the mythical hero, to demonstrate that, in Werewere-Liking’s writings, memory has the power to unite characters, incite revolt, and create extraordinary phenomena. In comparing Werewere-Liking's theatrical perspective and that of her Western peers, we note that ritual theater, her favorite genre, stands out from theatrical principles theorized by famous thinkers in the field of dramatic arts such as Aristotle and Bertolt Brecht. Clearly, her plays oppose “individuation” and the distancing effect recommended by these theorists. They fit into the perspective of traditional African theater although they integrate some aspects of European aesthetic. The harmony between the participants, nature, and the intelligible world forms the basis of her perspective. This work enriches the field of studies on the literature of Werewere-Liking with a new theme, that of dissent, and with a new method of analysis, namely Orphic philosophy. It allows us to note the similarities that exist between Orphism, a religious movement born in the 6th century BC in ancient Greece, and the sacred traditions of sub-Saharan Africa.



Committee Chair

Ngandu, Nkashama P



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