Aza ou le Nègre is a slave novel that was published anonymously in 1792, during the French Revolution. It differs from other contemporaneous works like Jean-François de Saint-Lambert's Ziméo and de Germaine de Staël's Mirza because, despite their advocacy for abolition, Ziméo and Mirza remain largely Eurocentric.
By contrast, because it is largely narrated in the first person, Aza ou le Nègre makes for an Afrocentric fiction whence 'the White man' is markedly absent. In having its hero Aza return to his native Africa, this novel purports to envision an after-slavery locus. Aza ou le Nègre thus can be read in a post-modern perspective where an African hero takes his destiny into his own hands and turns his back on the West to offer his own Afrocentric solution to the issue of slavery.
The book concludes with a seminal treatise that summarizes the Société des Amis des Noirs' ideology championed in Aza: Étienne Clavière's Adresse de la Société des amis des noirs à l'assemblée nationale, dating from 1791
Loïc Thommeret is lecturer in French at Oberlin College.