Narrating the (post)nation? Aspects of the local and the global in Francophone Congolese writing

Sarah Arens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates postnational(ist) dimensions of late twentieth-century Congolese writing based on Sony Labou Tansi’s novel Les sept solitudes de Lorsa Lopez [The Seven Solitudes of Lorsa Lopez] (1985) and Pie Tshibanda’s Un fou noir au pays des blancs [A Black Fool in the Country of the White] (1999). Adopting Achille Mbembe’s concept of “necropolitics” and the grotesque, it explores the different approaches used to construct localities and globalities through their depictions of the dead and the dying body in these two novels. Widening the focus, this article argues that the ways in which the two novels narrate geographical space are fundamental to the visions of the postcolonial nation they express: their ongoing preoccupation with spatial politics of the former colonizer and the failed nationalist projects after the formal end of European colonialism testify to their call for a more complex perception of postnationalism than often assumed in existing scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-41
JournalResearch in African Literatures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Colonialism
  • African literature
  • Postcolonial literature
  • Solitude
  • Nationalism
  • Death
  • Sovereignty
  • Nation states
  • Novels


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