d r a f t

“[…] we are all in relation with each other and we all have a chance of making our voices heard.” — Celia Britton, “Edouard Glissant” [obit], The Guardian.


Poetics of Space – Archipelagos and Wanderings special ed. of Karib: Nordic Journal for Caribbean Studies https://www.karib.no/collections/special/poetics-of-space-archipelagos-and-wanderings/

Collection launched: 25 Feb 2021

This special issue includes authors with different disciplinary backgrounds in conversation with the Martinican philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant (1928–2011) and with each other. Glissant has inspired and challenged us to use his essays as a vantage point, a base from which to view the world and create the schema of belonging and relational rootedness. The focus is on how Glissant’s work continues to be interpreted in new ways in disciplines other than philosophy or literary studies and on exploring fundamental questions about physical spaces and their ‘imaginaries’ around the world. Glissant used diverse examples and terms, each drawing meaning from the others. The authors of this collection set out to do exactly that as they wander around the globe, drawing specific attention to certain points or to the process itself. The insularity of an island (literally and metaphorically) in Glissant’s writing is also a paradoxical globality: the wandering (errance) does not have a start or a finish. In this case, it seemed symbolically appropriate to set out from the Caribbean and return to it in the final paper of the collection.

Guest editors: Tiina Peil & Michael Wiedorn

Wiedorn has article that seems a good summary: Wiedorn, M., 2021. On the Unfolding of Édouard Glissant’s Archipelagic Thought. Karib – Nordic Journal for Caribbean Studies, 6(1), p.3. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16993/karib.82 [URL https://www.karib.no/articles/10.16993/karib.82/.]


Mary Gallagher, Review of Think like an Archipelago: Paradox in the Work of Édouard Glissant, by Michael Wiedorn, French Studies, 74, no. 1 (Jan. 1, 2020) https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/oxford-university-press/think-like-an-archipelago-paradox-in-the-work-of-douard-glissant-by-2n2o0AHT0Z.

Screen shot:


In a Feb. 13, 2011, obit in The Guardian, Celia Britton, author of Edouard Glissant and Postcolonial Theory: Strategies of Language and Resistance and professor of French literature at the University of Aberdeen and University College London, summed up his career like this:

As a young man he campaigned for Martinique’s independence within a federation of Caribbean states. But in the 1980s he abandoned this project as unrealisable and broadened his focus to what he called the “tout-monde”: a view of the whole world as a network of interacting communities whose contacts result in constantly changing cultural formations. The concept of “relation”, earlier presented as a goal to which the isolated society of Martinique aspired, now became a worldwide reality: we are all in relation with each other and we all have a chance of making our voices heard.

And, in the lede of the obit, this assessment of the value of his oeuvre:

[…] Glissant’s body of work, comprising eight novels, nine volumes of poetry, one play and 15 collections of essays, constitutes not only a profound reflection on colonialism, slavery and racism, but also a powerful vision of a world where cultural diversity flourishes. He was shortlisted for the Nobel prize for literature in 1992.

[This is an orphan quote — I have no idea now where I got it:

In Poétique de la Relation (Poetics of Relation, 1990/2006) he develops a vision of a transcultural world determined by transversal movements and heterogeneous realities that altogether shape a “chaos-world” (chaos-monde) of unforeseen and unsystematic relations (see also: Introduction à une poétique du divers – Introduction to a poetics of diversity, 2006).

Misc. Links

Celia Britton, “Edouard Glissant” [obituary], The Guardian, Feb. 13, 2011 https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/feb/13/edouard-glissant-obituary.

Édouard Glissant, “The Poetics of the World: Global Thinking and Unforeseeable Events,” trans. Kate Cooper Leupin, Louisiana State University, April 20, 2002, _The Glissant Translation Project_, LSU, Baton Rouge https://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/theglissanttranslationproject/glissant-in-english/the-poetics-of-the-world-global-thinking-and-unforeseeable-events/.

“Opacité / Opacity (Édouard Glissant),” by Andrea Gremels, Keywords in Transcultural English Studies, Institute of English and American Studies, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main http://www.transcultural-english-studies.de/opacite-opacity-edouard-glissant/.

[Revised and uplinked Aug. 18, 1922]

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