Édouard Glissant


Today, September 21, marks the birth of Édouard Glissant (born in Sainte-Marie, Martinique in 1928). Writer, poet, and literary critic, Édouard Glissant is one of the most prominent thinkers and influential figures from the Caribbean and the Francophone world. A distinguished professor of French Literature at The Graduate Center (CUNY) since 1995, Glissant has twice been a finalist for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Glissant’s writings focus on the struggle against colonialism, globalization, and their combined effects on the subjugated citizens of the world. Last year, he and fellow Martinican author Patrick Chamoiseau wrote a letter to the French Minister of the Interior describing the riots in Paris as a direct consequence of slavery and the effects of European colonialism. It also criticized a new law requiring schools to teach the “positive role of the French presence overseas, particularly in North Africa.” In the widely-published letter, Glissant and Chamoiseau wrote: “Memory faces off with the world’s truths, and the act of living together is now located within the balancing acts of the world’s truths.” Glissant and Chamoiseau were also among the nine Caribbean intellectuals who drafted and co-signed a procamation–“Manifest pour les ‘produits’ de haute nécessité”–published in Le Monde (16 February 2009) expressing their support and defense of the legitimacy of the social movements taking place in Guadeloupe and Martinique.

A prolific writer of poetry, novels, and essays, some of his well-known works include his award-winning novel, La Lézarde (1958), and the groundbreaking works L’Intention poétique (1969), Le Discours antillais (1981), and Poétique de la Relation (1990). This year, he published (with Patrick Chamoiseau) L’intraitable beauté du monde: Adresse à Barack Obama (2009).

Photo from http://www.sevenstories.com/author/index.cfm?fa=ShowAuthor&Person_ID=340

For more information, see http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/glissan.htm, http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/folio/Spring2006/glissant.htm, and http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/ile.en.ile/paroles/glissant.html

6 thoughts on “Édouard Glissant

  1. I particularly recommend “The Poetics of Relation”. or better “La Poétique de la Relation” in French if you can! It’s a really important text beautifully written, which looks into the relationship between world cultures. We are hoping that our president Barack Obama will have read carefully “L’intraitable beauté du monde”! A short text, very unique, about French rule in India, by Glissant, can be read on the bilingual blog bilingue de la curiosité on blogspot.

  2. I will try to get my hand on it. Glissant’s approach to Caribbean culture and history is unique, and I also appreciate his views globally, not just for a specific culture. There is something so fascinating about his way of thinking, not only the result, but the process, the form.

  3. Hello, not sure whether you got my previous message. Would still really like to have you provide an entry to the bilingual blog of curiosité, as we are having a continued conversation around Glissant and creolization. We have had a text about Indian-French-Caribbean creolization, one about French-Reunion creolization, and would love to extend to other creolization, such as French-Caribbean, or English-Caribbean, and more. You can contact me directly at arablabla@hotmail.com

  4. “That’s an easy one. It was during a performance I was giving on a distant planet named Wirtschaftlich, much given to farming and like pursuits, that there was an accident in the road outside the theater. One of the vehicles involved was a farm vehicle transporting a ravening porcuswine in must. It escaped from the battered transport and attacked the theater doorman, obviously enraged by his red uniform. The doorman fled into the theater with the great beast right behind him. I knew instantly what I had to do. I ran towards the creature, crying aloud and flapping my cloak, which has a red lining. The beast then charged me! The ending is obvious. I lifted my magic wand and, before the horrified gaze of the audience-did my vanishing porcuswine act. Would you believe the creature was gone in an instant?”

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