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Postcolonial Archipelagos

Essays on Hispanic Caribbean and Lusophone African Fiction


Kristian Van Haesendonck

Writers from different postcolonial regions are usually classified according to their different nationalities or linguistic areas, and have rarely been brought together in one volume. Moving in a new direction, Postcolonial Archipelagos crosses not only geographical but also linguistic boundaries, by focusing on two contexts which seemingly have little or nothing in common with one another: the Hispanic Caribbean, and Lusophone Africa. Kristian Van Haesendonck thus opens new ground, in two ways: first, by making connections between contemporary Caribbean and African writers, moving beyond the topos of slavery and negritude in order to analyse the (im)possibility of conviviality in postcolonial cultures; and secondly, by exploring new ways of approaching these literatures as postcolonial archipelagic configurations with historical links to their respective metropoles, yet also as elements of what Glissant and Hannerz have respectively called "Tout-Monde" and a "world in creolization". Although the focus is on writers from Lusophone Africa (Mia Couto, José Luis Mendonça and Guilherme Mendes da Silva) and the Hispanic Caribbean (Junot Díaz, Eduardo Lalo, Marta Aponte, James Stevens-Arce and Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá), connections are made with and within the broader global context of intensified globalization.

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Conclusion: Global Entanglements



Global Entanglements

Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. (Charles Addams)

To formulate a series of conclusions regarding the complex issues dealt with in this book would be counterintuitive to the aims set out at the beginning of this book. The essays contained in this study have been profoundly exploratory in nature, without the pretence of giving definite answers on complex questions and issues (such as the unfinished processes of literary and cultural mixing) which obviously need further elaboration and reflection. Hence, I will limit myself here to recapitulating some of the main ideas that have guided my “archipelagic” journey through the Hispanic Caribbean and the Lusophone African literary fields. Beyond the geographical and metaphorical levels, I have departed from the idea of archipelago as a structuring principle, sketching a possible archipelagic poetics with implications on both the theoretical and practical levels. The book itself has indeed been set up as an archipelagic configuration, whereby the different essays are the “parts” – as with any scholarly work – of a textual assemblage. I have thus departed from and attempted to go beyond the concept of the (meta-)archipelago as theorized by Caribbean intellectuals. Some parts of this study will have been more “functional” than others, depending on the perspective or background knowledge of each specific reader. Some will have read this book as a work of reference (focusing on one or two parts in particular), others as...

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