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This presentation stems from the debate on the quality of the African novel each time an African work — here the novel — is awarded a literary prize. This has been the case since René Maran’s Batouala and until recently with Calixthe Beyala’s Les honneurs perdus (1996). The paper examines discursive elements both constant and new foregrounded at each period of the debate. There are two competing theories at the heart of the discussion that are trying to neutralize each other. On the one hand, there is the entrenched belief of the African continent still in need of epistemological assistance. On the other hand, there is an Africa posited as capable of putting together its own instruments to express herself and nurture her artistic creativity.

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Copyright © 2006, Revue de l'Université de Moncton. This article first appeared in Revue de l’Université de Moncton: 37:1 (2006), 111-129.

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