Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

John Romeiser

Committee Members

Mary McAlpin, Awa Sarr, Rosalind Hackett


Words are powerful. Whether they are conveyed orally or written down in a newspaper, or in a novel, they have the power to incite violence, or create peace. Words can destroy our reality or blind our imagination. Nevertheless, beyond, their destructive power, words have also the capacity to touch, to heal the broken hearted or better yet in a spiritual sense, to “exorcise.” It is in this sole perspective that we are introduced to the study of Solo d’un revenant, and L’ombre des choses à venir by Kossi Efoui, who sees language or its words as a tool used by dictatorial governments to keep their citizens in ignorance, in order to better exploit them. In order to counter this vicious reality of power domination, Efoui is on a mission to seize words as a weapon not only to reveal, and unveil to the “people” the real purpose behind the political discourses of “peace and hope”, but also to “heal and exorcise” the broken, and very desperate hearted. This study of Kossi Efoui is framed by the theoretical framework of postcolonialism, specifically, in the context of the “engagement littéraire” of African writers.

This dissertation seeks to explore Kossi Efoui’s poetical and theatrical use of language through his novels, not to denounce, but to reveal and to heal.

My approach is to focus on the study of Kossi Efoui from the perspective of a new generation of African writers. Through a thorough analysis of Solo d’un revenant, and L’ombre des choses à venir, I hope to dissect not only the two main axes (revelation and exorcism) that define Kossi Efoui’s theory of “engagement”, but also the intricacy of his writing style that crosses all genres (poetical, theatrical, fictional) reflective of the notion of universality claimed by the advocates of “La literature monde”, in order to see to what extent his claim that his writings are not intended to “denounce”, but only to “reveal”, holds true.

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