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Coup de Lune Seminar 3

A. Readings and interpretations (continued from the week 10 seminar)


How would you interpret Timor’s statement in the last chapter: ‘L’Afrique, ça n’existe pas...’. What does it reveal about western discourses on sub-Saharan Africa?

Read the article ‘Un dimanche à Port-Gentil’ from ‘L’Heure du nègre’ and explore the following issue: How does the article resonate (or not) with Le Coup de lune in terms of style and content? Do you feel your understanding of the text has changed in the light of your reading of this article? Post your thoughts using the comments feature below.


B. Postcolonial theory and the text: revision of key concepts


Briefly define the following terms (thinking particularly about the time and context in which Le Coup de lune was written). Use your lecture notes and the lecture slides available on the Coup de lune web page ( as a point of departure for your research:


  • Ethnography
  • Orientalism / exoticism
  • Assimilation


How important are these concepts to an analysis of Le Coup de lune? Make close reference to the text in your answer.


What is epistemology? What do you think is meant by the idea, put forward in the week 10 lecture, that Timar’s experience in the boat scene with the African rowers (ch. 10) constitutes an ‘epistemological shift’ in terms of its ethnographic outlook?


C. Questions for discussion

  1. 'To what extent and in what ways can Simenon be said to be writing against French colonialism in Le Coup de lune?'
  2. 'To what extent does Le Coup de lune reflect Simenon's vision of Africa in the article you have studied from L’Heure du nègre'

Please work in groups to prepare plans for these questions, in the following way:

  • Chris, George and Seyi: question 1
  • Sorcha, Celine, Serena and Emilie: question 1
  • Jess, Megan and Lucy: question 2
  • Tash, Julia and Ceri: question 2

Please bring your plans with you to the class and we'll discuss them together.


D. Further research (to pursue in your own time, not for the seminar):


Find out more about Edward Said’s theories of orientalism and explain how these might be relevant for your analysis of Le Coup de lune.


Find out more about the colonial noir novel. To what extent can Le Coup de lune be said to exhibit features of this genre?