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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

On-line version ISSN 2309-9070

Abstract

MWEPU, Patrick Kabeya. Culturalism and existentialist thought- A reading of Julien Kilanga Musinde's Retour de manivelle. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2013, vol.50, n.1, pp. 97-111. ISSN 2309-9070.

Published in 2008, the novel Retour de manivelle by Julien Kilanga Musinde revives the unfinished debate related to the search of identity in African writing. The universe depicted represents the modern society and Musinde's main character is changing as fast as he relocates to a different society. The author depicts this flexibility as a strength that commands the adaptability of the character without suppressing the initial culture of the protagonist. Musinde chooses to freely express his fantasy and, at the same time, integrate his subjective world vision and multidimensional scholarship in the interpretation of the identity. The question of culture being central to the novel, the paper is aimed at demonstrating, however, that the culture that is depicted as both exclusive and dynamic in Musinde's work should be understood mainly in cyclic perception in which both the starting and the arrival points are joining in a unique individual subjectivity, such a subjectivity having the potential of engendering a new discourse by attempting to juxtapose conflicting ways of life. The paper also demonstrates how Musinde distances himself from the materialistic world vision commonly expressed by existentialists and Epicurean philosophers. This attitude allows the author to reflect on the interconnectivity between the immediate empirical reality and the world beyond from the perspective of a transnational African intellectual in a globalizing world.

Keywords : Congolese literature; cultural identity; existentialism; globalisation; Julien Kilanga Musinde; meaning of death.

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