Edouard Glissant by J. Michael Dash

By J. Michael Dash

Edouard Glissant is an complete and influential novelist and poet, and has lately emerged as an enormous theorist in Caribbean reports and postcolonial literature. during this first full-length learn of Glissant's artistic and theoretical paintings J. Michael sprint examines his poems, novels, performs and essays within the context of recent French literary routine and the post-negritude Caribbean state of affairs, supplying either an invaluable creation to, and a difficult review of, Glissant's paintings up to now. sprint exhibits how Glissant has targeted in an exceptional means at the Caribbean when it comes to the various and hybrid tradition that has been created within the zone, and the way his principles on a cross-cultural politics are the shaping strength within the Francophone Caribbean "Creolite" circulation.

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There are frequent references to parts of trees ('racine', 'frondaisons', 'feuille') and actual trees ('acacias', 'araucaria') and they are invariably associated with the act of creating a poetic language or moulding an artistic form from memory and experience. The identification between poet and tree is clear in the passage: Durant que vous dormez dans cette plaine, le souvenir encourt les tournoiements de l'arbre, et plus haut son sang. Toute prose devient feuille et accumule dans l'obscur ses eblouies.

However, even for her, this early writing is 'intensely stylized and cerebral'. 28 Yet words like 'preciosite' and 'stylized' do not accurately describe these meditations on poetic expression. Stylization, as a false aesthetic coherence imposed on the imagination, is explicitly rejected in Glissant's The poetic intention 39 Soleil de la conscience: 'Mais l'art n'est pas . . ') 29 He clearly values process over product, the risks of the journey over the promise of landfall. The very first images of Un champ d'tles convey primordial chaos, a painful gestation, 'Tourmentes, feu marin, etendues sans pitie' ('Torment, marine fire, pitiless wastes').

Mort beaute gloire eternite! 46 (Death, beauty glory eternity! ) The suckling force of the sea on the land and the wounds inflicted on the land in this encounter are clearly suggested in such phrases as Teau bifide', 'femme labouree', 'rivages nus guettant quelles vagues', 'la plaie muette des rochers', 'viol sacre de la lumiere' ('the bifid water', 'ploughed woman', 'naked shoreline watchful for what waves', 'the dumb wound of the rocks', 'the light's sacred violation'). The light of consciousness is related to the wisdom of the ocean, a repository of patient understanding, memory and the ambiguities of history.

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