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World Writing

World Writing: Poetics, Ethics, Globalization

Series: Cultural Spaces
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    World Writing
    Book Description:

    Much has been said about the relationship between globalization and culture and the political implications of that relationship. There has been little effort made, however, to investigate the effect of globalization on poetics or on the ethical moment of literature. World Writing is therefore concerned with studying the intersection of contemporary ethics, poetics, and globalization through historical and critical readings of writing from various parts of the world.

    Following an introductory chapter by Mary Gallagher, which maps this conceptual terrain, the contributors investigate how globalization inflects the necessary relationship between poetics, culture, ethics, and politics. Among the essays are Celia Britton's reading of Édouard Glissant on languages in the globalized world; Mary Gallagher's comparison of Glissant's poetics of cultural diversity with the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas; David Palumbo-Liu's exploration of the ethics of postcolonial fiction in J.M. Coetzee's work; Mary Louise Pratt's critique, based on recent Latin American writing, of the prematurely celebratory nature of globalization; and Julia Kristeva's argument for the value of poetics and the ethics of hospitality. What emerges is an intricate discussion of the elusive relationship between the realms of ethics, poetics, and politics as they intersect in our changing world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8965-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Editor’s Note
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Poetics, Ethics, and Globalization
    (pp. 3-61)

    Does globalization, can globalization intersect with the work of poetics and, in particular, with the ethical moment of writing? Where and how – in writing and in reading – might the forces and gravitations of globalization be at work (or be worked upon)? What are the implications of this latter ‘work’ for the relation between poetics and ethics? How might the ‘increasingly homogeneous brandname-driven world market’¹ for writing affect or pressure not just the creative imagination – in particular the ways in which the verbal imagination engages ethically with the world – but also the cultural, political, or ethical value of poetics? If the...

  6. 2 Transnational Languages in Glissant’s ‘Tout-monde’
    (pp. 62-85)

    It is widely accepted that Édouard Glissant’s work undergoes a dramatic change of perspective and of mood in the late 1980s and 1990s, betweenLe Discours antillais(1981), on the one hand, andPoétique de la Relation(1990),Tout-monde(1993),Introduction à une poétique du divers(1996), andTraité du Tout-monde(1997) on the other.¹Le Discours antillaiswas, as its title suggests, exclusively concerned with the French Antilles, and in fact mainly with Glissant’s own home island, Martinique, and it gave an extremely pessimistic evaluation of Martinique as a ‘morbid,’ politically stagnant, alienated, and isolated society. The major texts...

  7. 3 Relating (in Theory) in a Globalized World: Between Levinas’s Ethics and Glissant’s Poetics
    (pp. 86-121)

    As a reflection on the tangency of ethics and poetics in a globalized world, this essay confronts the poetics of cultural diversity and interrelation envisioned by the Caribbean thinker and poet Édouard Glissant with the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, the Jewish philosopher of Lithuanian origin, famous for stressing the primacy and the priority of ethics over ontology and, indeed, over poetics.¹ That is, it treats the question of how Glissant’s view of globalization – his vision of the emergent ‘tout-monde’ articulated as a poetics of diversity – relates to Levinas’s ethics. More specifically, how might Glissant’s idea of the ‘world as a...

  8. 4 French Theory
    (pp. 122-137)

    It was with a certain degree of apprehension that I addressed the Humanities Institute of Ireland in June 2004 in what is above all, for me, the language of Joyce. If my English is far from perfect, despite years of teaching in American universities, this is – as I suggested to my Dublin audience – because of a double trauma that I suffered in my childhood and of which I had never spoken in public before. Although I was successful in my studies, I was not admitted to the British school, which was generally reserved for the children of what was known...

  9. 5 Redrawing the Hexagon: The Space of Culture in Malraux and Blanchot
    (pp. 138-166)

    The schematic representation of metropolitan France as a hexagon has a long history. Its symbolization of a homogeneous national territory governed by abstract principles is particularly associated, however, with the republican ideology developed from the Third Republic onwards, and culminating in the Gaullist technocracy of the late 1950s and 1960s.¹ From 1870 to 1962, the characterization of France as a hexagon holds important, and ambiguous, implications for the country’s national identity as defined through territorial integrity. On the one hand, to describe France as a hexagon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is to insist on its rightful...

  10. 6 Not Your Uncle: Text, Sex, and the Globalized Moroccan Author
    (pp. 167-189)

    Sexual mores and practices are particularly susceptible to the pressures of globalization, since the exported American aesthetic is so much about selling sex, or about selling via sex, while the Western touristic impulse is so much about buying sex or at least about buying into the eroticization of other places. Yet, somehow homosexual practices and mores are also especially resistant to the sorts of standardization demanded by globalization. In this essay, I explore the construction of meaning and dissolution of significance surrounding what most Euro-Americans would consider homosexuality in the works of two Moroccan writers, Driss Chraïbi, who first published...

  11. 7 Rationality, Realism, and the Poet(h)ic Problem of Otherness: J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello
    (pp. 190-206)

    If by ‘globalization’ we mean a newly extensive and intensive connectedness between formerly remote or disconnected peoples, then certainly notions of such things as a ‘global economy,’ ‘world culture,’ and ‘human interaction’ have to be newly assessed. Our customary tools for comprehending and representing human behaviour, both in the social sciences and the humanities, no longer have the luxury of focusing only on discrete and separate objects, phenomena, and behaviour, since these are now mingling with and cross-referencing each other in unprecedented and sometimes discrepant manners. Ironically, it would seem, then, that knowledge of others has become even more of...

  12. 8 Planetary Longings: Sitting in the Light of the Great Solar TV
    (pp. 207-223)

    In the summer of 2002, at the mercy of a dogmatically anti-carnivorous son, I found myself in a tiny ‘hole in the wall’ vegetarian restaurant in the city of Cuzco in Peru. It was a very simple place where a tasty, nourishing meal was served for pennies to an entirely Peruvian, mostly male clientele. The walls, I noticed, were decorated with painted spaceage images of stars, suns, and flying saucers. Shortly after sitting down, we realized that the customers were all intently watching a TV screen mounted from the ceiling. It was broadcasting, not the national networks, but a series...

  13. 9 Reframing Global/Local Poetics in the Post-imperial Pacific: Meditations on ‘Displacement,’ Indigeneity, and the Misrecognitions of US Area Studies
    (pp. 224-246)

    Under ‘displacement,’ theOEDtracks the quasi-materialist tangle of the English semantic record when it tells us that rulers, plants, waters, feelings of aggression, and day-labourers all can bedisplaced, that is, shifted, removed, deflected; in short, put out-of-place by some disruptive structural, biological, or tactical shift, as revealed in theOED’s macro-instance of creative destruction from 1880, ‘the displacement of human labour ... through machinery.’ Nowadays, with the more ethereal rise to power across the US academy of diaspora discourse, borderlands paradigms, and postcolonial dissemination models of split subjectivity, displacement has become a virtually normative concept/tactic by which to...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-260)
  15. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 261-262)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 263-263)