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<i>L’Annonce faite à Marie</i>: de l’héritage africain à une lecture postcoloniale

Mireille Ahondoukpè


English Title: L’ Annonce faite à Marie: from African legacy to a postcolonial reading

In this article, a postcolonial reading is undertaken of L’annonce faite à Marie (The annunciation of Mary), a 1912 play by Paul Claudel. Several celebrated authors from Africa and the Caribbean, belonging to the black postcolonial world, willingly acknowledge their debt to Paul Claudel, including Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Édouard Glissant and Saint-John Perse. Nevertheless, postcolonial theories generally exclude the study of Western and medieval works from the purview of postcolonial studies. It may thus appear paradoxical to propose a postcolonial reading of Claudel’s play, written by a French playwright who does not belong to the colonized world. The play is furthermore set in the Middle Ages. However, many critics, mostly Anglo-Saxons, have successfully matched medieval texts and postcolonial studies. In fact, postcolonial theoretical tools are capable of casting new light on the study of L’Annonce faite à Marie, regarding, for example, relations of gender or power, marginalization and migration. Given Claudel’s avowed impact on the literature of the black world, in view of the play’s focus on situations of domination, the postcolonial approach may be legitimately applied to the study of L’Annonce faite à Marie, despite the ‘medieval’ particularities of this play.

Keywords: L’Annonce faite à Marie, Paul Claudel’s African legacy, postcolonial reading, medieval world