Journal of Romance Studies

Malagasy ecopoetics

The hybrid poetry of Parny, Rabearivelo, and Mahaleo

Journal of Romance Studies (2022), 22, (1), 73–104.

Abstract

Malagasy literary production has long displayed a discourse with Madagascar’s unique environment, often linking this with an exploration of island identity. This article examines and compares poetic writing in Madagascar across 350 years. It studies the anti-colonial prose poems of eighteenth-century white creole poet Évariste Parny alongside early twentieth-century poems of Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, who brings French Symbolism into contact with traditional Malagasy verse, and lyrical poetry by the musicians in the modern folk-pop band Mahaleo, who bring a mixture of traditions to a unique Malagasy style of music. Parny, Rabearivelo, and Mahaleo all build on and break with generic convention of poetic form, and all do so to draw attention to the island’s specific experience of ecological colonial violence and to their interpretation of eco-regional identity. Their writings help us make sense of the ecological changes in Madagascar during and after colonisation, and of the human response to these changes.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Works cited

Adejunmobi, Moradewun (1996) JJ Rabearivelo, Literature and Lingua Franca in Colonial Madagascar (New York: Peter Lang). Google Scholar

Aliderson, Felan’Ando (2004) ‘Land as foundation of the Malagasy nation seen through Randria’s “kabary”’, Alizés: Revue angliciste de La Réunion, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences humaines (Université de La Réunion), Founding Myths of the New South Africa / Les mythes fondateurs de la nouvelle Afrique du Sud, 127-135, https://hal.univ-reunion.fr/hal-02344093 (accessed 31 July 2021). Google Scholar

Anderson, Ian (1994) ‘Mad about Madagascar: Indian Ocean Music from Southeast Africa’, in World Music: The Rough Guide, ed. Simon Broughton et al. (London: Rough Guides), 363-370. Google Scholar

Baudelaire, Charles (1975) Œuvres complètes, ed. by C. Pichois, vol. 1 (Paris: Gallimard). Google Scholar

Benson, LeGrace (2011) ‘Haiti’s Elusive Paradise’, in Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment, ed. Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 62-79. Google Scholar

Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Jacques-Henri (1804 [1784]) Études de la nature, Vol. 2 (Paris: Crapelet). Google Scholar

Bhabha, Homi (2012 [1994]) The Location of Culture (London: Routledge). Google Scholar

Boucher, Gwenaëlle (2009) Poètes creoles du XVIIIe siècle: Parny, Bertain, Léonard, Vol. 1 (Paris: L’Harmattan). Google Scholar

Bowd, Gavin (2017) La Double culture de Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo: entre Latins et Scythes (Paris: L’Harmattan). Google Scholar

Brewster, David (2020) ‘Coordinating responses to environmental disasters in Indian Ocean island states’, https://www.themandarin.com.au/146027-environmental-disasters-in-indian-ocean-island-states/ (accessed 31 July 2021). Google Scholar

Brown, Mervyn (1995) A History of Madagascar (London: Damien Tunnacliffe). Google Scholar

Campbell, Chris and Michael Niblett (2016) ‘Introduction: Critical Environments: World-Ecology, World Literature, and the Caribbean’, in The Caribbean: Aesthetics, World-Ecology, Politics, ed. Chris Campbell and Michael Niblett (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press), 1-15. Google Scholar

Casteel, Sarah Phillips (2004) ‘New World Pastoral: The Caribbean Garden and Emplacement in Gisèle Pineau and Shani Mootoo’, Interventions 5.1: 12-28. Google Scholar

Clerfeuille, Sylvie (2007) ‘Le Tsensigat: Le folk malgache’, https://www.afrisson.com/tsensigat-1689/ (accessed 31 July 2021). Google Scholar

Deckard, Sharae (2016) ‘The Political Ecology of Storms in Caribbean Literature’, in The Caribbean: Aesthetics, World-Ecology, Politics, ed. Chris Campbell and Michael Niblett (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press), 25-45. Google Scholar

DeLoughrey, Elizabeth (2007) Roots and Routes: Navigating Caribbean and Pacific Island Literatures (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press). Google Scholar

DeLoughrey, Elizabeth and George B. Handley (eds) (2011) Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Google Scholar

Evans, David (2017) ‘Towards an Ecopoetics of French Free Verse: Marie Krysinska’s Rythmes pittoresques’, in French Ecocriticism: From the Early Modern Period to the Twenty-First Century, ed. D. Finch-Race and S. Posthumus (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang), 115-134. Google Scholar

Finch-Race, Daniel A. (2021a) ‘Editorial: Hopes and Fears in Times of Ecological Crisis across the francosphère’, Modern and Contemporary France 29.2: 99-114. Google Scholar

Finch-Race, Daniel A. (2021b) ‘Elemental Ecocritique of Normandy’s Industrial-Era Coast in Zola’s La joie de vivre’, Modern and Contemporary France 29.2: 145-163. Google Scholar

Finch-Race, Daniel A. and Valentina Gosetti (2019) ‘Editorial: Discovering Industrial-Era Francophone Ecoregions’, Dix-Neuf 23.3-4: 151-162. Google Scholar

Fournet-Guérin, C. (2009) ‘La dimension spatiale du fait national à Madagascar: un État-nation en Afrique?’ L’Espace Politique 7.2009-1, http://journals.openedition.org/espacepolitique/1244 (accessed 31 July 2020). Google Scholar

Fuhr, Jenny (2014) Experiencing Rhythm: Contemporary Malagasy Music and Identity (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars). Google Scholar

Grove, Richard H. (1995) Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Google Scholar

Guignery, Vanessa (2011) ‘Introduction: Hybridity, why it still matters’, in Hybridity: Forms and Figures in Literature and the Visual Arts, ed. Vanessa Guignery, Catherine Pesso-Miquel, and François Speq (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 1-9. Google Scholar

Haring, Lee (1985) ‘Folklore and the History of Literature in Madagascar’ Research in African Literatures 16.3: 297-318. Google Scholar

Hawkins, Peter (2007) The Other Hybrid Archipelago (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books). Google Scholar

Hulme, M (2011) ‘Meet the Humanities’ Nature Climate Change 1.4: 177-179. Google Scholar

Kaufmann, Jeffrey C. (2004) ‘Prickly Pear Cactus and Pastoralism in Southwest Madagascar’, Ethnology 43.4: 345-361. Google Scholar

Keller, Eva (2008) ‘The banana plant and the moon: Conservation and the Malagasy ethos of life in Masoala, Madagascar’, American Ethnologist 35.4: 650-664. Google Scholar

Kiwan, Nadia and Ulrike Hanna Meinhof (2011) Cultural Globalization and Music: African Artists in Translational Networks (New York: Palgrave Macmillan). Google Scholar

Koshland, Miriam (1960) ‘The Poetry of Madagascar’, Africa South 4.2: 114-119. Google Scholar

Lavery, Charne (2013) ‘Writing the Indian Ocean in Selected Fiction by Joseph Conrad, Amitav Ghosh, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Lindsey Collen’, PhD thesis, University of Oxford. Google Scholar

Lionnet, Françoise (2018) ‘Introduction’, in Selected Poetry and Prose of Évariste Parny, ed. Françoise Lionnet, trans. Peter Low and Blake Smith (New York: The Modern Language Association of America), i-lx. Google Scholar

Lionnet, Françoise (2021) ‘World Literature, Francophonie, and Creole Cosmopolitics’, in The Routledge Companion to World Literature, ed. Theo D’haen, David Damrosch, and Djelal Kadir (London: Routledge), 325-335. Google Scholar

Mahaleo (2011a) ‘Bemolanga’ [1985], in Mahaleo: 40 ans d’ histoire(s) de Madagascar, Fanny Pigeaud (Paris: Laterit), 302. Google Scholar

Mahaleo (2011b), ‘Madirovalo’ [1979], in Mahaleo: 40 ans d’ histoire(s) de Madagascar, Fanny Pigeaud (Paris: Laterit), 362. Google Scholar

Mahaleo (2011c) ‘Maravoay’ [1979], in Mahaleo: 40 ans d’ histoire(s) de Madagascar, Fanny Pigeaud (Paris: Laterit), 366. Google Scholar

Mauguière, Bénédicte (2000) ‘Francophone literatures of the Indian Ocean’, in The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature, ed. F. Irele and S. Gikandi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 569-583. Google Scholar

Meitinger, Serge (1991) ‘Jean-Joseph Rabéarivelo, poète de l’enracinement et de la nuit: Métissage et exil intérieur’, Littérature 83: 74-88. Google Scholar

Middleton, Karen (1999) Ancestors, Power, and History in Madagascar (Leiden: Brill). Google Scholar

Ministère de l’Europe et des affaires étrangères, ‘The Gallic Rooster’, https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/france-facts/symbols-of-the-republic/article/the-gallic-rooster (accessed 29 October 2021). Google Scholar

Moore, Fabienne (2009) Prose Poems of the French Enlightenment: Delimiting Genre (Farnham: Ashgate). Google Scholar

Nuttall, Sarah (2019) ‘Pluvial Time, Ocean Ontologies and the Heterochronicity of the Present’, English Studies in Africa 62.1: 28-39. Google Scholar

Olson, David M. et al. (eds) (2001) ‘Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth’, Bioscience 51.11: 933-938. Google Scholar

Orr, Mary (2021) ‘“Cactus” by Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo: Grasping prickly subjects and their teaching in Francophone (post-)colonial (eco)criticism’, French Studies Bulletin 157: 7-13. Google Scholar

Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth (2011) ‘Deforestation and the Yearning for Lost Landscapes in Caribbean Literatures’, in Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment, ed. Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 99-116. Google Scholar

Parny, Évariste (2018 [1787]) Selected Poetry and Prose of Évariste Parny, ed. by Françoise Lionnet, trans. by Peter Low and Blake Smith (New York: Modern Language Association of America). Google Scholar

Pigeaud, Fanny (2011) Mahaleo: 40 ans d’ histoire(s) de Madagascar (Paris: Laterit). Google Scholar

Rabearivelo, Jean-Joseph (1928) Volumes, https://www.poesies.net/jeanjosephrabearivelovolumes.txt (accessed 31 July 2021). Google Scholar

Rabearivelo, Jean-Joseph (1934) Presque-Songes, Kindle Edition, salines-editions.com (accessed 31 July 2021). Google Scholar

Rabearivelo, Jean-Joseph (2007 [1935]) Traduit de la Nuit; Nadika Tamin’ Ny Alina (Saint-Maur-des-Fossés: Éditions Sépia). Google Scholar

Rigby, Kate (2016) ‘Ecopoetics’, in Keywords for Environmental Studies, ed. Joni Adamson, William A. Gleason, and David N. Pellow (New York: New York University Press), 79. Google Scholar

Said, Edward W. (1994) Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage). Google Scholar

Saint-Guilhem, Charles-Édouard (2013) Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo: Presque Songes (Paris: Honoré Champion). Google Scholar

Savory, Elaine (2011) Toward a Caribbean Ecopoetics: Derek Walcott’s Language of Plants’, in Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment, ed. Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 80-98. Google Scholar

Seth, Catriona (2000) ‘Introduction’, in Anthologie de la poésie française: XVIIIe, XIXe, XXe siècles, ed. Martine Bercot, Michel Collot, and Catriona Seth, vol. 2 (Paris: Gallimard), 1-28. Google Scholar

Vinciguerra, Venusia (2013) ‘How the Daewoo attempted land acquisition contributed to Madagascar’s political crisis in 2009’, in Contest for Land in Madagascar: Environment, Ancestors and Development, ed. Sandra Evers, Gwyn Campbell, and Michael Lambek (Leiden; Boston: Brill), 221-246. Google Scholar

Voarintsoa, Ny Riavo G., Andriamiranto Raveloson, Rondrotiana Barimalala, and Onja H. Razafindratsima (2019) ‘“Malagasy” or “Madagascan”? Which English term best reflects the people, the culture, and other things from Madagascar?’ Scientific African 4: n. pag. Google Scholar

Filmography

Paes, Cesar and Raymond Rajaonarivelo, dir. (2005), Mahaleo. Google Scholar

Discography

Mahaleo (2011a) ‘Bemolanga’ [1985], in Fanny Pigeaud, Mahaleo: 40 ans d’ histoire(s) de Madagascar (Paris: Laterit), 302, https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x18ma60 (accessed 23 November 2021). Google Scholar

Mahaleo (2011b), ‘Madirovalo’ [1979], in Fanny Pigeaud, Mahaleo: 40 ans d’ histoire(s) de Madagascar (Paris: Laterit), 362, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m9y2VdxdF4 (accessed 23 November 2021), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9rznSFLA5g (accessed 23 November 2021). Google Scholar

Mahaleo (2011c) ‘Maravoay’ [1979], in Fanny Pigeaud, Mahaleo: 40 ans d’ histoire(s) de Madagascar (Paris: Laterit), 366. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Margrave, Christie