Introduction: The Colonial Venture

  • Alec G. Hargreaves


This is a study of the manner in which three French writers gave imaginative expression to the colonial experience of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Considerable critical interest has been aroused by the growing volume of works by contemporary francophone writers expressing the experience of peoples who have recently emerged from colonial rule, but comparatively little attention has been given to French writers who witnessed or participated in the expansionist era which originally brought many of these peoples under European dominion.


Colonial Rule Colonial Experience Territorial Expansion Indigenous Inhabitant French Writer 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Pierre Jourda, L’ Exotisme dans la littérature française depuis Chateaubriand, vol. ii: Du romantisme à 1939 (Presses Universitaires de France, 1956) pp. 156–7.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    C. Frebault, ‘La Vie coloniale dans le roman anglais et français: Etude sur Rudyard Kipling et Pierre Loti’ (University of Birmingham, M. A. dissertation 1926).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    For recent examples of this view, see Raymonde Lefevre, ‘Pierre Loti, écrivain “colonial”?’ in Cahiers Pierre Loti, no. 11 (févr 1955) pp. 9–10;Google Scholar
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  7. 7.
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  8. 12.
    William Jewett Everts, The Life and Works of Pierre Mille (Columbia University, USA, Ph. D. thesis 1938).Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    See the figures from G. Clark, The Balance Sheets of Imperialism (New York: 1936) pp. 5–6,Google Scholar
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  11. 14.
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  12. 15.
    Stephen H. Roberts, The History of French Colonial Policy 1870–1925 (London: Frank Cass, 1963) p. 7.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    See Henri Brunschwig, Mythes et réalités de l’ impérialisme colonial français 1871–1914 (Armand Colin, 1960) pp. 113–16,Google Scholar
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  15. 17.
    See Charles-Robert Ageron, L’ Anticolonialisme en France de 1871 à 1g14 (Presses Universitaires de France, 1973) pp. 38–40.Google Scholar
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  17. 19.
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  18. 22.
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  19. 23.
    Girardet, op. cit. p. 62; cf. Jean Ganiage (avec la collaboration de Daniel Hémery), L’ Expansion coloniale de la France sous la Troisième République 1871–1914. (Payot, 1968) pp. 23–6.Google Scholar
  20. 24.
    Henri Brunschwig, Le Partage de l’ Afrique noire (Flammarion, 1971) p. 49.Google Scholar
  21. 25.
    Ageron, op. cit. p. 41. For an incisive exposition of the view that at root ‘every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was […] a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric’, see Edward W. Said, Orientalism (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978) (this quotation p. 204).Google Scholar
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  23. 26.
    Stephen Neill, Colonialism and Christian Missions (London: Lutterworth Press, 1966) p. 413.Google Scholar
  24. 27.
    Girardet, op. cit. pp. 89–93. For a discussion of the relationship between the colonial movement and these ideas as they found expression in anthropological theories of the time, see Gérard Leclerc, Anthropologie et colonialisme (Fayard, 1972) pp. 9–53.Google Scholar
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  26. 28.
    Carroll Quigley, ‘Education in Overseas France’, in Current History, xxv (1958) p. 102,Google Scholar
  27. quoted by Martin Deming Lewis, ‘One Hundred Million Frenchmen: The “Assimilation” Theory in French Colonial Policy’, in Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. iv, no. 2 (January 1962) p. 152 n. 68.Google Scholar
  28. 30.
    Albert Sarraut, La Mise en valeur des colonies françaises (Payot, 1923) p. 104.Google Scholar
  29. 32.
    See, for example, Michael Crowder, West Africa Under Colonial Rule (London: Hutchinson, 1968) pp. 374–8;Google Scholar
  30. Virginia Thompson, French Indo-China (New York: Macmillan, 1942) pp. 284–300.Google Scholar
  31. 33.
    H. Deschamps, Histoire de Madagascar, 4e éd. revue et complétée (Berger-Levrault, 1972) p. 250; Deschamps’ italics.Google Scholar
  32. 34.
    Quoted in Raymond F. Betts, Assimilation and Association in French Colonial Theory 1890–1914 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961) pp. 142–3.Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    See D. K. Fieldhouse, ‘The Economic Exploitation of Africa: Some British and French Comparisons’, in Prosser Gifford and Wm. Roger Louis (eds), France and Britain in Africa (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971) p. 640; cf. Crowder, op. cit. p. 176.Google Scholar
  34. 38.
    See William B. Cohen, Rulers of Empire: The French Colonial Service in Africa (Stanford University, California: Hoover Institution Press, 1971) p. 81.Google Scholar
  35. 39.
    See AndréGide, Voyage au Congo (Gallimard, 1927);Google Scholar
  36. cf. Jean Suret-Canale, Afrique noire occidentale et centrale, vol. ii: L’Ere coloniale (Editions Sociales, 1964) P. 56.Google Scholar

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© Alec G. Hargreaves 1981

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  • Alec G. Hargreaves

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