Forum for Modern Language Studies
Oxford University Press
The essay concentrates on two seminal postcolonial novels by authors of African descent: Cristina Ubax Ali Farah’s Madre piccola (2007) (Little Mother: A Novel) and Gabriella Ghermandi’s Regina di fiori e di perle (2007) (Queen of Flowers and Pearls). It argues that these works give expression to an African diasporic urban generation that is changing the literary legacy of the Horn of Africa. The co-presence of multiple genres, with orality appearing as a strong influence on their written narrative forms, places these novels within the larger formation of a black African literary tradition. By looking at these two novels from an Africanist perspective, the essay takes into consideration their plurilingual interventions, the use of glossaries and linguistic borrowings, alongside the presence of Somali and Amharic cultural references. It highlights the authorial perspective as a ‘filial descent’ that addresses the complexity of a postcolonial generational shift in contemporary African literature. By placing these works within an African literary tradition and showing their critical de-centring of this tradition, the essay reconfigures a possible space of cultural autonomy for African postcolonial writing, away from the Italocentric space of discourse that has so far dominated its critical reception in Italy.
Lombardi-Diop, Cristina. Filial Descent: The African Roots of Postcolonial Literature in Italy. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 56, 1: 66–77, 2020. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Modern Languages and Literatures: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/fmls/cqz058
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© Lombardi-Diop, 2020.