Nina D. Lyakhovskaya
Gorky Institute of World Literatures, Russian Academy of Sciences
The fate of African mask in the works of French-speaking writers in West and Central Africa
Lyakhovskaya N.D. The fate of African mask in the works of French-speaking writers in West and Central Africa. Vestnik of Kostroma State University, 2021, vol. 27, № 3, pp. 202–209 (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2021-27-3-202-209
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2021-27-3-202-209
УДК: 821(6).09''20/21''
Publish date: 2021-08-18
Annotation: The article examines the attitude of contemporary African writers to the traditional zoomorphic and anthropomorphic masks. In the 1960s–70s, for the supporters of the theory of negritude, the sacred mask embodied the spirit of ancestors and an inextricable connection with tradition. In a transitional era (the 1990s – the early 21st century), the process of desacralisation of the mask has been observed and such works appear in which the idea of the death of tradition is carried out. The article consistently examines the history of the emergence and strengthening of interest in the image of the African mask as the most striking symbol of African traditions on the part of cultural, art and scientific workers and the reflection of this symbol in the works of representatives of Francophone literature in West and Central Africa in different periods of time. The article concludes about the transformation of the views of the studied writers on the future of African traditions from an enthusiastic and romantic (as, for example, in the lyrics of Léopold Sédar Senghor or Samuel-Martin Eno Belinga) attitude to the images of the African past and tradition – masks, ancestor cult – to despair and bitterness from the awareness of the desacralisation of traditional objects and images and the profanation of tradition under the pressure of the realities of the present day (drama by Koffi Kwahulé). The attitude of African writers to the image of the mask, which is directly related to the themes of preserving traditions and the search of their identity by African literary heroes, is gradually changing, demonstrating the pessimistic view of Francophone African writers on the future of African traditions.
Keywords: tradition, mask, zoomorphism, anthropomorphism, aesthetic canon, desacralisation, bifurcation of consciousness.
Literature list: Mirimanov V.B. Iskusstvo Tropicheskoj Afriki [Art of Tropical Africa]. Moscow, Iskusstvo Publ., 1986, 310 p. (In Russ.) Pomeranc G. Vyhod iz transa [Getting out of Trance]. Moscow, RossPen Publ., 2010, 583 p. (In Russ.) Leopol'd Sedar Sengor. Izbrannaja zarubezhnaja lirika [Selected foreign lyrics]. Moscow, Molodaya gvardija Publ., 1969, 64 p. (In Russ.)
Author's info: Nina D. Lyakhovskaya, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Gorky Institute of World Literatures, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, samaki@mail.ru