Original Research

Tout-Monde, Glissant ... comme ses noms l’indiquent

S. D. Ménager
Literator | Vol 19, No 2 | a522 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v19i2.522 | © 1998 S. D. Ménager | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1998 | Published: 30 April 1998

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S. D. Ménager, Department of French, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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Tout-Monde, Glissant ... comme ses noms l’indiquent
In the field of Caribbean literature, Edouard Glissant from Martinique occupies a unique place. His aim as stated at the beginning of his career, has been to create a supra-rational language able to reach the depths of West Indian sub-consciousness in order to free it. In one of his recent novels (Tout-Monde - 1993), the therapeutic function of his writing seems to be overcome by the task of global obscuring. The extreme complexity of the spatio and temporal structure bears witness to this point, as does the particular effort that the writer puts into his use of the names of his characters and the manner in which he plays with them. This article, though an onomastic perspective, is a census of the absence of certain names, the sophisticated jamming of others, their versatility and ever-changing nature as well as many other remarkable fluctuations which constitute a metonymy of desire: the desire to hide a secret which is perhaps the mystery of literary creation. With the help of examples taken from other Caribbean writers (Confiant, Chamoiseau), the danger of decoding what is hidden behind the mentioned names is underlined through three characters, all called Anestor. What comes out of this analysis is that the decoding is bound and meant to fail. The reader is to be lost in the labyrinth of the novel by the will of the writer. A crossed-out quotation suggests that statements, contradictions, negations are all part of a unique process which is part of the attempt to re-read the history of Creole literature and to foresee what its future might have in store.


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