Glissant, Édouard (1928–)

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Glissant, Édouard (1928–)

Édouard Glissant (b. 21 September 1928), writer and teacher of Martinique. Aimé Césaire was Glissant's professor at the Lycée Schoelcher in Fort-de-France, Martinique. With the group Franc-Jeu, Glissant and Frantz Fanon worked for Aimé Césaire's election to the Constituent Assembly in 1945. Glissant went to France on a scholarship in 1946. Active in the Front Antillo-Guyanais pour l'Indépendance, Glissant was barred (1961) from returning to Martinique or traveling to Algeria. After the French government finally allowed Glissant to return to Martinique in 1965, he founded the Institut Martiniquais d'Études and the journal Acoma in an effort to develop cultural consciousness among young Martinicans. Glissant later accepted a chair in Francophone literature at Louisiana State University.

Édouard Glissant has become the major proponent of "creolization," a concept that underscores acceptance of a decentered position in the world, the willingness to encounter the other rather than take one's own standpoint as central, and the will to take cross-breeding (métissage) as normal rather than exceptional and reprehensible. Purists are shocked by the contagious mixing of cultures in the language of the young. "Alert to the intermingling of world cultures," poets, according to Glissant, "are delighted." Glissant wants to build the Tower of Babel "in all languages." The year 2007 saw the inauguration in Paris of L'Institut du Tout-Monde, founded by Glissant with the support of the Conseil Régional de l'île de France and the French Ministry of Overseas Affairs.

See alsoCreole; Ethnic Studies.


Works by Édouard Glissant include: Un champ d'îles (poetry, 1953); La lézarde (novel, 1958); translated by J. Michael Dash as The Ripening (1985); Monsieur Toussaint (play, 1961), translated by Joseph G. Foster and Barbara Franklin (1981); Le sang rivé (poetry, 1961); Le quatrième siècle (novel, 1962), Prix Charles-Vallon; Poèmes … (poetry, 1965); Malemort (novel, 1975); La case du commandeur (novel, 1981); Le discours antillais (essays, 1981), translated by J. Michael Dash as Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays (1989); Le sel noir (rev. ed., 1983); Les Indes; Un champ d'îles; La terre inquiète (collected poems, 1985); Pays rêvé, pays réel (poems, 1985); Mahagony (novel, 1987); Poétique de la relation (essays, 1990); Fastes (poems, 1991).

Bernadette Cailler, Conquérants de la nuit nue: Édouard Glissant et l'histoire antillaise (1988). J. Michael Dash, Caribbean Discourse: World Literature Today 63, no. 4 (1989), special issue devoted to Glissant: bibliography, texts, critical articles; Patrick Chamoiseau and Raphaël Confiant, Lettres créoles: Tracées antillaises et continentales de la littérature, 1635–1975 (1991), pp. 185-202.

Additional Bibliography

Britton, Celia. Edouard Glissant and Postcolonial Theory: Strategies of Language and Resistance. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999.

Dash, J. Michael. Edouard Glissant. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Chancé, Dominique. Edouard Glissant, un "traité du déparler": Essai sur l'æuvre romanesque d'Edouard Glissant. Paris: Karthala, 2002.

Glissant, Édouard. Poèmes complets. Paris: Gallimard, 1994.

Glissant, Édouard. Faulkner, Mississippi. Paris: Stock, 1996.

Glissant, Édouard. Introduction à une poétique du divers. Paris: Gallimard, 1996.

Glissant, Édouard. Traité du Tout-Monde. Paris: Gallimard, 1997.

Glissant, Édouard. Sartorius: Le roman des Batoutos. Paris: Gallimard, 1999.

Glissant, Édouard. Le mond incrée. Paris: Gallimard, 2000.

Glissant, Édouard. Ormerod. Paris: Gallimard, 2003.

Glissant, Édouard. La Cohée du Lamentin. Paris: Gallimard, 2005.

                                        Carrol F. Coates