La Représentation du local, de l’universel et de la réalité dans Rue la Poudrière, Le Voile de Draupadi et Le Sari vert d’Ananda Devi
This doctoral thesis, written in French and entitled « La Représentation du local, de l’universel et de la réalité dans Rue la Poudrière, Le Voile de Draupadi et Le Sari vert d’Ananda Devi », is an in-depth historico-sociological analysis of Mauritian writer Ananda Devi’s three novels published in 1988, 1993 and 2009 respectively. Having Mauritius as their background, these three novels introduce themes such as slavery, the trans-oceanic experience of Indian indentured labourers, prostitution, rape, domestic violence and homicide, through female protagonists in Rue la Poudrière and Le Voile de Draupadi, and a male protagonist in Le Sari vert. Existing research on Devi’s work concentrates mostly on the plight of women, who are victims of a Mauritian patriarchal society. Moving away from this approach, my research focuses on the spatial, historical and sociological dimensions in order to closely analyse the surroundings of the characters. The first focus of this research is to see whether these three novels exclusively allude to Mauritian society or also deal with universal concepts. The second focus is to determine the degree of realism of these three fictional works. Thus, the overall focus of this research is to scrutinise the degree of particularism, universalisation and realism in the geographical, historical and social dimensions of the novels. I begin with a brief presentation of Ananda Devi and her place in Mauritian literature. Then, I explain the objectives of the thesis and introduce my methodologies, which include the theories of Tzvetan Todorov and Jean-Marc Moura used to analyse the local and universal aspects, and the theories of Guy de Maupassant, Roland Barthes, Maureen Ramsden, Vincent Jouve, Michael Riffaterre, Mark Sainsbury, Névine El Nossery used to frame the examination of realism. Sociological theories of Emile Durkheim and Robert Merton are also elaborated, to support the analysis of the social dimension. In order to better scrutinise the historical dimension of the novels, I have used the work of Mauritian and international historians as well as Mauritian and international governmental reports. Khal Torabully’s notion of coolitude is also discussed to evaluate how different ethnic groups are represented in the novels. I have in addition coined the term “le rêve mauricien”, in relation to the social dimension of the novels. Finally, I conclude with issues of realism, the local, the universal and fiction.