Postcolonial Eccentricities: Francophone Caribbean Literature and the fin de siécle
"Étienne Léro [writes, in his essay Misére d’une poésie, of] a rising wind that will sweep away from the French colonies ‘les fruits avortés d’une culture caduque’ [(aborted fruits)]. This apocalyptic image returns at the end of Césaire’s ‘Cahier’ where an all-encompassing wind sweeps all before it”.
"As Ménil rather amusingly puts it in his essay on Negritude in Tracées, black Orpheus looks a lot like Sartre in blackface. […] Ménil’s point is that Negritude, trapped in this Sartrean exotic-for-itself identity, simply consented to this reification, allowing itself to be defined by an external consciousness, and capitulated to the class interests of a native bourgeoisie.”
[on Césaire’s neologism, verrition, meaning “to scrape clean or sweep away”] “Césaire’s epic poem ends, therefore, not with a return to a literal island homeland but with the apocalyptic fantasy of the tongue or language of fire that spurts from the reanimated volcano and triumphantly announces a new, disalienated future.”
[on Glissant’s Forced Poetics and the importance of a continued, oppositional oral language (creole) in relation to the prevailing systems of written languages (french) and desires to officialize the former (Créolité movement, Raphaël Confiant)] “Herein lie the seeds of ‘la pensée archipélique’, with its image of diffracted opacities scattered across a sea of relational possibilities.”
[on the use of the jellyfish sting (the méduse) by Glissant and the bite from Walcott’s Omeros, “where the character Philoctete is 'blest' with his wound, which is both a product of the past of slavery and an extension of the sulphur wound of Soufriere on the island itself.”] “The transparent, floating creature of the méduse is not mythic and has no point of origin. In a sense, we are all battuti, inevitably stung by history.”
"Unexploded volcanoes, banyan identities, drifting medusas, rhizomatic branchings now abound in francophone Caribbean writing as a new discourse emerges built on the ruins of the language of Apocalypse."
- all above from J. Michael Dash
"The explosion will not happen today. It is too early…or too late. I don’t arrive armed with decisive truths. My conscience is not traversed by essential fulgurances." - Fanon, 1952