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The Fiction of J. M. G. Le Clézio

A Postcolonial Reading


Bronwen Martin

Since the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to J. M. G. Le Clézio in 2008, there has been a wave of new interest in his œuvre. This book traces the evolution of the writer’s postcolonial thought from his early works to his groundbreaking autobiographical novel Révolutions, arguably his most subversive text to date. The author shows how Le Clézio’s critique of colonialism is rooted in an early denunciation of capitalism and philosophical dualism, and sheds new light on the crucial roles played by Jean-Paul Sartre, Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon in his development.
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.


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190 Index friendship 128–31 Foucault, Michel 17, 31, 35 n158, 102, 130 Gilroy, Paul 5, 92 There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack 93 n94 Glissant, Édouard 14, 53, 58–9, 94, 104, 109–10, 118–23, 129–30, 135 Le Discours antillais 14 n, 113 n12 La Cohée du Lamentin 119 n21, 121 n27, 160 L’Intention poétique 122 n29 Introduction à une poétique du divers 53 n1, 59 n18 Philosophie de la relation 117 n17 Poétique de la relation 110 n3, 122 Traité du tout-monde 128 n38, 136 Une nouvelle région du monde 135 globalization 29, 99, 179 Hendrix, Jimi 46, 47, 48 Hiddleston, Jane Transnational French Studies: Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde 48 n history as repetition 88 Hobsbawn, Eric 64 Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism 106 n114 The Age of Revolution 1798–1848 56 n Holiday, Billie 47, 48 holocausts 108 homelessness 18, 96–8, 161 homogeneity 14, 35, 57, 60–1, 88, 117, 120 hospitality 93–4 see also homelessness humanism liberal 12, 24–7, 36–7, 104, 107–8 new 3, 4, 45, 110 identification 21, 23, 40, 113, 139, 175–6 Creole 47, 115–18, 124 creolization 110, 118–23, 131, 165, 168–9 dehumanization 40, 65, 76, 81, 90 Deleuze, Gilles 82, 133 n43 Derrida, Jacques: Of Hospitality 93 n95 Dewey, John 66 n28 dif ference, cultural 66–9, 89, 117, 141, 153, 166 Dirlik, Arif: The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism 68...

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