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Poetics of the Antilles

Poetry, History and Philosophy in the Writings of Perse, Césaire, Fanon and Glissant


Jean Khalfa

The essays collected in this volume study the poetry and thought of four major Francophone Caribbean writers: Saint-John Perse, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon and Édouard Glissant. In a context where identity was a question, an original conception of subjectivity appeared, as the end point rather than the origin of a process which was inseparably poetic and political. It entailed an aesthetics of dispersion or errance, rather than belonging. This volume thus questions the traditional teleological narrative of negritude as ‘renaissance’ or ‘awakening’. A careful look at the birth of different negritude movements shows the complexity of this history and explains Fanon’s philosophical and political critique of the notion. These writers’ astonishingly rich production rests on original aesthetic ideas and philosophical reflections which the vagaries of history and displacement, and their comparison with major metropolitan literary movements, had masked. Fanon’s thought is at the heart of the book, but this volume also traces the important debates these authors had with the major French thinkers of their time, notably Bergson, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze.
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Edited by Jean Khalfa

This series aims to publish monographs, editions or collections of papers based on recent research into modern French literature. It welcomes contributions from academics, researchers and writers in British and Irish universities in particular. Modern French Identities focuses on the French and Francophone writing of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, whose formal experiments and revisions of genre have combined to create an entirely new set of literary forms, from the thematic autobiographies of Michel Leiris and Bernard Noël to the magic realism of French Caribbean writers. The idea that identities are constructed rather than found, and that the self is an area to explore rather than a given pretext, runs through much of modern French literature, from Proust, Gide, Apollinaire and Césaire to Barthes, Duras, Kristeva, Glissant, Germain and Roubaud. This series explores the turmoil in ideas and values expressed in the works of theorists like Lacan, Irigaray, Foucault, Fanon, Deleuze and Bourdieu and traces the impact of current theoretical approaches – such as gender and sexuality studies, de/coloniality, intersectionality, and ecocriticism – on the literary and cultural interpretation of the self. The series publishes studies of individual authors and artists, comparative studies, and interdisciplinary projects and welcomes research on autobiography, cinema, fiction, poetry and performance art and/or the intersections between them.

Editorial Board
Contemporary Literature and Thought: Martin Crowley (University of Cambridge)
Francophone Studies: Louise Hardwick (University of Birmingham) and Jean Khalfa (University of Cambridge)
Gender and Sexuality Studies: Florian Grandena (University of Ottawa) and Cristina Johnston (University of Stirling)
Language and Linguistics: Michaël Abecassis (University of Oxford)
Literature and Art: Peter Collier (University of Cambridge)
Poetry: Nina Parish (University of Bath) and Emma Wagstaff (University of Birmingham)

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Les Espaces du Livre / Spaces of the Book

Supports et acteurs de la création texte/image (XXe–XXIe siècles) / Materials and Agents of the Text/Image Creation (20th–21th Centuries)


Edited by Isabelle Chol and Jean Khalfa

L’étonnante diversité des possibilités esthétiques offertes par le livre comme support matériel de la fin du XIX e siècle aux expérimentations les plus contemporaines, est au cœur de la réflexion proposée dans ce livre. La page, le feuillet et le livre, l’écran aussi, débordent le cadre du codex et du livre relié (livre en éventail, leporello, recueil d’affiches, livre dressé, livre sculpté, livre éclaté, livre numérique, etc.), par l’hétérogénéité de leurs matières, de leurs formes et de leurs formats. Ils deviennent des supports actifs dans le processus de conception et de réception de l’œuvre. Observer les processus de composition et de diffusion des œuvres dans leurs singularités matérielles, tel est l’objet de ce livre. Cette recherche engage à prendre la mesure du rôle des différents acteurs dans la conception du livre, non plus seulement l’écrivain et l’artiste mais aussi le typographe, le relieur, l’éditeur ou le galeriste, chaque acteur pouvant lui-même être polyvalent. La porosité des frontières entre les activités, les métiers, engendre naturellement la porosité entre les genres littéraires et artistiques.
The heart of the reflection in this book is the diversity of aesthetic possibilities of the book as material support, from the late nineteenth century to contemporary experiments. The page, the sheet and the book go well beyond the codex and the bound book, in the heterogeneity of their materials, forms and formats (fans, leporellos, poster collections, upright books, book sculptures, exploded books, electronic books, etc.): they are active supports in the design and reception process. This book observes the process of composition and distribution of works in their material singularities, including the role of the different stakeholders in the design of the book, not only the writer and the artist but also the typographer, bookbinder, publisher or gallery owner, each playing a multiplicity of roles. Such porous borders between roles and crafts generate porosity between the literary and artistic genres.