The main objective of this study is to establish a framework for the designation of transpoetic and transcultural spaces in a selection of West African and Caribbean Francophone novels, namely Ousmane Sembene’s Les Bouts de Bois de Dieu, Ahmadou Kourouma’s Les Soleils des Indépendances, Aminata Sow Fall’s L’Appel des arènes, Simone Schwarz-Bart’s Ti-Jean L’horizon, Maryse Condé’s Traversée de la Mangrove, and Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnifique. In shaping the argumentation for this study, critical components from a variety of academic disciplines including anthropology, musicology, philosophy, and literary criticism are considered. This study further examines “texted” representations of rhythmic and musical phenomena as presented in each of the selected novels, and explores their implications in linguistic, sociocultural, political, and aesthetic domains.
Whether manifest in quotidian biological, mechanized, and musical rhythms, or sonorous melodies, euphonies, and cacophonies, such sounding components significantly contribute not only in promoting local aesthetic values and cultural sensibilities in the six novels selected for this study, but also how they open spaces for autonomous identity appropriation and configuration in the the transpoetic transcultural space of the text. In following with this notion, in exploring the “texted” heartbeats, drumbeats, dance steps, and other sonorities that comprise the rhythmic and musical soundscapes of each novel, it becomes apparent how and why these sounding techniques are important, particularly in view of questions of identity in the post-colonial Francophone world. In this respect, this study endeavors to discover what happens when the freedom and the possibility of rhythm and music resonate from within the textual interface of the novel.