Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



This study of four 19th and 20th century colonial texts, as well as a later postcolonial novel exposes the cadres exotiques, or exotic frameworks, of literary exoticism. The thesis names and interprets the moods of and reactions to exoticism, including colonial exoticism, antiexoticism, and autoexoticism. Poetic and theoretical interpretations of exoticism, such as Victor Segalen’s Notion du Divers and Edouard Glissant’s Opacité and Poétique de la Relation challenge the prevalent assumptions that the literary practice was only an unfortunate byproduct of colonialism. The first chapter presents literary history and theoretical considerations relating to exoticism: Orientalism, nostalgia, colonial literary history, and a critical literature review. Chapter II explores Le Roman d’un spahi (1881) and Les Trois dames de la Kasbah (1882) by Pierre Loti, two texts dating from France’s high colonial period of the late 19th century. Chapter III studies works and contexts of the 1930s—Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932) and Michel Leiris’s L’Afrique fantôme (1934). These modernist texts appeared with the decline of colonial exoticism’s popularity. conclude with an analysis of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle (1973), a postcolonial novel about the life of a Creole woman in the former French colony of Guadeloupe.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Nathaniel Wing