A Postcolonial Reading
The author’s close reading of Révolutions reveals a complex system of interconnections between the colonial conflicts from the 1700s to the 1900s, with recurrent patterns of violence, cultural repression and racism. The issue of neocolonialism is addressed and the persistence of the colonial mindset in contemporary Europe and Westernized countries is shown to echo the findings of Paul Gilroy, Max Silverman and Étienne Balibar. The book concludes with an examination of the utopian elements underpinning Révolutions, establishing close affinities with the work of Édouard Glissant and developing the notion of permanent revolution. Themes explored include those of storytelling, cultural memory, cultural identity, language, intertextuality and interculturality.
The awarding of the Nobel Prize to Le Clézio in 2008 has produced a resur gence of interest in his work both in France and internationally. Questions of cultural identity and of interculturality have been addressed in recent studies1 and important contributions to Le Clézio’s postcolonial thought have earlier been made by, amongst others, Marina Salles, Madeleine Borgomano and Bruno Thibault.2 The aim of this book is twofold: first, it seeks to present an overview of the development of Le Clézio’s post colonial thought, focusing on patterns of continuity especially in relation ship to his first novel Le Procès-verbal (1963). Secondly, it endeavours to give a close reading of the novel Révolutions (2003) regarded by many as Le Clézio’s masterpiece and as the richest and most powerfully subversive of his texts to date. The novel was conceived by the author as a conscious return to his beginnings: in an interview with JeanPaul Enthoven shortly after its publication, Le Clézio states ‘Vous savez, j’écris toujours le même livre, et je remets sans cesse mes pas dans mes pas. Mes ancêtres bretons, la guerre d’Algérie, Londres et Nice, le souvenir de Salinger, la violence qui s’impose à des jeunes gens qui, du jour au lendemain, deviennent chair à canon potentielle, c’est ça le matériau de Révolutions’.3 In my study the term postcolonial will be used to cover three core areas. The first relates to Le Clézio’s critique of Western...
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