Soundings in French Caribbean Writing Since 1950: The Shock of Space and Time

Hardcover | November 1, 2002

byMary Gallagher

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Over the second half of the twentieth century, a substantial flow of writing emerged from the French-held Caribbean. Much of this work is both theoretically knowing and poetically potent and has attracted international attention to the literary resonances of the uniquely complex geo-historicalsituation of the Caribbean, and indeed of the Americas in general. Much of its passion, pertinence, and appeal inheres in its approach to time and to space, an approach still reverberating with the shock of displacement and its various after-tremors: an exploded sense of diversity; radicalrelativization; the profound expropriations of enslavement; colonial erosion. Through readings of high-profile as well as lesser known writing, this book tracks some of the more striking tensions and tropisms at work in the French Caribbean imagination of space and time and their intersection. It studies generic interplay, textual palimpseste, narrative structure, and otherdynamics of writing that realize and manipulate the intersections of time and space, history and memory, writing and rewriting, voice and text, referential space and (inter)textual space, as well as cultural theory and literary practice, identity and difference, place and displacement. In this way, it probes both the strains and the stresses, and also the insights and gravitations that make for the particular 'French Caribbean' timbre of this volume of writing. This specific vibration, while illuminating Caribbean, New World, and post-colonial thinking in general, also encourageswider reflection on global resonances of displacement and dislocation and on more general issues such as the role of writing, and of narrative in particular, in the confrontation of absence and presence, loss and desire, distance and diversity. This book locates the problematic of time/space inrelation to historiographical, geo-cultural, and phenomenological thinking and it also takes account of the detonation of critical interest in what is broadly termed post-colonial writing. Its fundamental concern, however, is to show how a particular corpus of writing has, in the space of half a century, and from a bracing position of hyper-relationality, responded imaginatively and poetically to the challenge of envisioning place, and of relating space to time.

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Over the second half of the twentieth century, a substantial flow of writing emerged from the French-held Caribbean. Much of this work is both theoretically knowing and poetically potent and has attracted international attention to the literary resonances of the uniquely complex geo-historicalsituation of the Caribbean, and indeed of t...

Mary Gallagher is Lecturer in French at University College Dublin.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:302 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.79 inPublished:November 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019815982X

ISBN - 13:9780198159827

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Theoretical Generations: Writing Identities2. Novel Time: Reconstructing the Past?3. The Place of Memory4. The Time-Space of Writing: Voicing Continuities, Texturing Traditions5. The Plantation Revisited: a Chronotope Revised6. The Reproduction of Space? Urban Time7. French Connection, Metropolitan Mirror8. A critical space-time: Africa, between authenticity and ambivalence9. Imagining the Local: Circulating in the New WorldConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Gallagher has produced a concise, elegantly written study of remarkable range and sophistication.... Students who seek a reliable orientation to the sociohistorical, literary-historical, and theoretical issues involved in recent literature from the francophone Caribbean will not find a better, morereliable introduction.... ÝIt¨ deserves the attention of specialists and general readers alike."--World Literature Today"In this important study, Gallagher offers a probing and sensitive examination of postcolonial French Caribbean literature.... Gallagher's cogent and intelligent discussion suggests a vitality of spirit reflective of each author's contribution to an authentic literature whose global impact onliterary thought extends beyond the borders of the Caribbean."--Choice