UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mongo Beti : his works and his contribution to the African novel Carline, Mary


Mongo Beti is the pseudonym of one Alexandre Biyidi, a novelist from the ex-French Cameroun, who wrote the body of his work in the 1950s, before his country gained its independence. His four novels, Ville Cruelle, Le Pauvre Christ de Bomba, Mission Terminee, and Le Roi Miracule together constitute a detailed portrait of life in the Cameroun under colonial rule. In this thesis I have attempted to set forth as clearly as possible Beti's opinions on the actions and philosophies of colonial administrator and Christian missionary alike, and on the effects which these have had upon his fellow-Camerounians. To analyse the justice of his opinions, I have referred to contemporary and more recent criticism of these two facets of Europe's "African adventure." It is my contention that, though mordant in his satire of the Christian religion in Africa, though angrily critical of colonialism's "civilising mission", Beti is never less than honest in his evaluation. Equally honest are his portrayals of his fellow-Africans, for he does not succumb to the temptation to present them as more noble or long-suffering, or as, in any way, other than they are. I have commented upon the intrinsic worth of the novels themselves, and have attempted, briefly, to suggest the position and importance of Beti's brand of social realism in the history of the African novel, indicating my reasons for believing that his work still has relevance today.

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