Poetics of Relation

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University of Michigan Press, 1997 - Foreign Language Study - 226 pages
3 Reviews
Édouard Glissant, long recognized in the French and francophone world as one of the greatest writers and thinkers of our times, is increasingly attracting attention from English-speaking readers. Born in Martinique in 1928, Glissant earned a doctorate from the Sorbonne. When he returned to his native land in the mid-sixties, his writing began to focus on the idea of a "relational poetics," which laid the groundwork for the "créolité" movement, fueled by the understanding that Caribbean culture and identity are the positive products of a complex and multiple set of local historical circumstances. Some of the metaphors of local identity Glissant favored--the hinterland (or lack of it), the maroon (or runaway slave), the creole language--proved lasting and influential.
InPoetics of Relation, Glissant turns the concrete particulars of Caribbean reality into a complex, energetic vision of a world in transformation. He sees the Antilles as enduring suffering imposed by history, yet as a place whose unique interactions will one day produce an emerging global consensus. Arguing that the writer alone can tap the unconscious of a people and apprehend its multiform culture to provide forms of memory capable of transcending "nonhistory," Glissant defines his "poetics of relation"--both aesthetic and political--as a transformative mode of history, capable of enunciating and making concrete a French-Caribbean reality with a self-defined past and future. Glissant's notions of identity as constructed in relation and not in isolation are germane not only to discussions of Caribbean creolization but also to our understanding of U.S. multiculturalism. In Glissant's view, we come to see that relation in all its senses--telling, listening, connecting, and the parallel consciousness of self and surroundings--is the key to transforming mentalities and reshaping societies.
This translation of Glissant's work preserves the resonating quality of his prose and makes the richness and ambiguities of his voice accessible to readers in English.
"The most important theoretician from the Caribbean writing today. . . . He is central not only to the burgeoning field of Caribbean studies, but also to the newly flourishing literary scene in the French West Indies." --Judith Graves Miller, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Édouard Glissant is Distinguished Professor of French at City University of New York, Graduate Center. Betsy Wing's recent translations include Lucie Aubrac'sOutwitting the Gestapo(with Konrad Bieber), Didier Eribon'sMichel Foucaultand Hélêne Cixous'sThe Book of Promethea.
  

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Review: Poetics of Relation

User Review  - Tonia - Goodreads

Glissant is a tough read. Very abstract and obscure, but he is at once an amazing thinker and user of language. Read full review

Review: Poetics of Relation

User Review  - Sara-Maria Sorentino - Goodreads

didn't finish Read full review

Contents

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About the author (1997)

Born in Martinique in 1928, influenced by poet/politician Aime Cesaire, and educated at the Sorbonne in Paris, Edouard Glissant has emerged as one of the most influential postcolonial theorists, novelists, playwrights, and poets not only in the Caribbean but also in contemporary French literature. He has twice been a finalist for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include Poetics of Relation, Caribbean Discourse, Faulkner Mississippi, Collected Poems, and the novel The Ripening. He is currently Distinguished Professor of French at the Graduate Center, CUNY and lives in New York, Paris, and Martinique.

Betsy Wing is a writer and translator whose fiction collection "Look Out for Hydrophobia" appeared in 1991. She is the translator of "Western" and "The Origin of Man" by Christine Montalbetti, as well as works by Assia Djebar, Paule Constant, and douard Glissant.

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