Patrick Chamoiseau

Patrick Chamoiseau: A Critical Introduction

Wendy Knepper
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Patrick Chamoiseau
    Book Description:

    Patrick Chamoiseau: A Critical Introduction examines the career, oeuvre, and literary theories of one of the most important Caribbean writers living today. Chamoiseau's work sheds light on the dynamic processes of creolization that have shaped Caribbean history and culture. He is the recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the prestigious Prix Goncourt for the epic novel Texaco. The author's diverse body of work, which includes plays, novels, fictionalized memoirs, treatises, and other genres of writing, offers a compelling vision of the postcolonial world from a francophone Caribbean perspective.An important addition to Caribbean literary studies, Patrick Chamoiseau is an indispensable work for scholars interested in francophone, Caribbean, and world literatures as well as cultural studies. Scholars and students with interests in creolization, neocolonialism, and globalization will find this work particularly valuable.Patrick Chamoiseau brings the writer's major works of fiction into dialogue with lesser-known texts, including unpublished theatrical works, screenplays, visual texts, and treatises. This holistic, comprehensive, and largely chronological study of Chamoiseau's oeuvre includes analyses of various authorial strategies, especially the use of narrative masques, cross-cultural storytelling techniques, and creolizing poetics.

    eISBN: 978-1-61703-155-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Contexts and Intertexts
    (pp. 3-31)

    In Caribbean culture and literature, the storyteller has long been a figure who encodes the mysteries of community. Wilson Harris describes the Caribbean artist as a masquerading figure, a trickster, and a truth-teller who stands at the gateway “at the heart of the lie of community and the truth of community” where he or she discovers the potential for “a profoundly compassionate society committed to freedom within a creative scale.”¹ While the trickster truth-teller figure emerges in the context of plantation society with its creolization of cultures and carnivalesque tradition of Caribbean masquerade,² he continues to have a role in...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Insurgent Performance Works
    (pp. 32-58)

    Patrick Chamoiseau has described his early writing as his rebel phase. He sees the rebel as someone who revolts in tactical rather than strategic ways: “dépendant de l’oppression dont il est victime—il est dépendant de l’agresseur, il réagit à l’attaque de l’agresseur” (“the rebel remains dependent on the oppression of which he is a victim—he is dependent on the aggressor, he reacts to the attack of the aggressor”).¹ Opposed to the (neo) colonial present, the rebel remains caught in a fight-or-flight response. While Chamoiseau celebrates the insurgent impulse in all its forms, he is opposed to the rebel...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Vernacular Forms and Wandering Genres
    (pp. 59-94)

    Throughout the Caribbean, the anxiety of cultural influence, the quest for vernacular forms, the reclamation of history, and the crisis of writing were significant issues during the 1970s and 1980s. Where writers in the anglophone Caribbean pursued strategies of nation language, such as outlined in Kamau Brathwaite’sA History of the Voice(1979), and articulate new forms of postcolonial identity, such as the notion of a creolized national identity found in Derek Walcott’sThe Star-Apple Kingdom(1979), Chamoiseau confronted a different set of postcolonial conditions under departmentalization. Édouard Glissant’sLe discours antillais(1981) as well as his fiction, notably works...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Créolité, Community, and the Word Scratcher
    (pp. 95-129)

    Solibo Magnifiquelaments the death of the Creole storyteller, but gives birth tooralitureor orature, which is produced at the interfaces of the oral and written as well as through the interplay of languages. Similarly, the introduction of theMarqueur de parolesrepresents a new kind of performative writing that self-consciously refers to its own composition. Literary issues are brought into dialogue with ethnographic questions about the role of field research, observation, interviews, data collection, the role of the participant-observer, and so on. For Chamoiseau, the late 1980s and early 1990s were a time of intense analysis and incredible...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Autoethnographic Fictions of Childhood
    (pp. 130-153)

    Chamoiseau has published three fictional texts on childhood,Antan d’enfance(1990),Chemin-d’école(1994), andÀ bout d’enfance(2005). Together these three works deal with different stages in the life of the child: pre-school experiences, early school years, and the end of childhood marked by the onset of adolescence. Splitting childhood into distinctive stages, Chamoiseau revives the slow drama of childhood development and recognizes that childhood involves a series of dramatic transformations, and ruptures of consciousness. Despite fictionalizing tendencies, the works are examples of “autoethnographic expression,” which Mary Louise Pratt defines as “instances in which colonized subjects undertake to represent themselves...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Initiating the Warrior of the Imaginary
    (pp. 154-184)

    FollowingTexaco, Chamoiseau embarks on a highly experimental phase of writing during which he articulates his theory of theémerveille(“marvel”) and introduces a new figure, the Warrior of the Imaginary.¹ Through innovative poetic forms and narrative figures, he creates a poetic vocabulary that shapes his writing through much of the 1990s and up to the present. During this period, he also addresses the ways in which the Martinican experience of domination and creolization shed light on the processes of globalization. The narrative processes of intersection and dialogic construction already present inTexacotake on an increasing complexity as his...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Visual Texts and the Revolutionary Epic
    (pp. 185-211)

    During the 1990s and first decade of the twenty-first century, Chamoiseau’s interest in issues of representation has been evidenced through the author’s numerous contributions to visual texts in the form of screenplays, books of photography, children’s literature, and art criticism. FollowingL’Exil du roi, Chamoiseau’s screenplays includePassage du milieu(2000),Biguine(2002),Nord-Plage(2003), andAliker(2009). He has also collaborated with photographer Jean-Luc de Laguarigue to produceElmire des sept bonheurs: confidences d’un vieux travailleur de la distillerie Saint-Etienne(1998),Métiers créoles(1999), andCases en Pays-Mêlés(2000) to produce works that reflect on everyday life in Martinique...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Activism and Tales of Initiation
    (pp. 212-238)

    Chamoiseau’s role as an educator, investigative writer, and activist has come to shape not only his political writings but also, in a more diffuse way, his approach to narrative. Chamoiseau’s contributions toQuand les murs tombent: L’identité nationale hors-la-loi?(When the Walls Fall: National Identity Outside the Law?) (2007),L’Intraitable beauté du monde: Adresse à Barack Obama(The Unrelenting Beauty of the World: Address to Barack Obama) (2009), andManifeste pour les “produits” de haute nécessité(Manifesto on “Products” of High Necessity)¹ (2009) offer clearly articulated perspectives on migration, globalization, food production, and the relevance of relational thinking in a...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 239-260)
    (pp. 261-270)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 271-274)