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Biblique des derniers gestes de Patrick Chamoiseau : Fantastique et Histoire

Lutas, Liviu LU (2008) In Études Romanes de Lund 82.
Abstract
Patrick Chamoiseau is arguably the most prominent cultural personality from the French island of Martinique. His reputation is due to the worldwide success of his novels, especially Texaco, winner of the Prix Goncourt-award in 1992, but also to the fact that he is the leading theorist of the Créolité, an ideological movement whose aim is to preserve the character of Creole identity and culture against the threat of assimilation. Chamoiseau’s importance in an ideological context tends to overshadow his literary qualities, his novels being often seen as illustrations of his political ideas.

Although Chamoiseau’s ideological views aren’t totally absent from his literary work, his novels strike the reader as extremely complex... (More)
Patrick Chamoiseau is arguably the most prominent cultural personality from the French island of Martinique. His reputation is due to the worldwide success of his novels, especially Texaco, winner of the Prix Goncourt-award in 1992, but also to the fact that he is the leading theorist of the Créolité, an ideological movement whose aim is to preserve the character of Creole identity and culture against the threat of assimilation. Chamoiseau’s importance in an ideological context tends to overshadow his literary qualities, his novels being often seen as illustrations of his political ideas.

Although Chamoiseau’s ideological views aren’t totally absent from his literary work, his novels strike the reader as extremely complex constructions, containing far more than a subversive aspect. An aspect that has been neglected by the critics is for example the supernatural. Probably because of the geographic vicinity to South America, Chamoiseau’s use of the supernatural has been, rather hastily, considered as typical of magical realism or marvellous realism. This dissertation aims at showing that the fantastic, as defined by Tzvetan Todorov (1970), is better suited to describe this aspect of Chamoiseau’s novels, especially Biblique des derniers gestes (2002).

Our main objective is, however, not to decide whether the novel belongs to the fantastic as a genre, but to examine the reasons why it is used. A close analysis shows that it is often in relation to the past of Martinique that the supernatural appears. Thanks to the theory of the fantastic, we find three possible explanations of this fact. Firstly, the supernatural is juxtaposed to the real in order to reveal its limits and its “constructedness”. Martinican past thus appears as a French construction. Secondly, the fantastic can be used to reveal the absence of genuine Martinican history. Finally, the fantastic can be a reminder of a terrible event from the past. In conclusion it can be said that Chamoiseau uses the fantastic in order to write the history of an event that he sees as the origin of Martinique: slavery. By doing this he contributes to the fantastic as well, by showing that it is not necessarily gratuitous and by providing a good example of original and innovative use. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • docteur Douaire, Anne, Sorbonne, Paris IV
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
métalepse, Post-colonialisme, Surnaturel, Réalisme magique, Histoire, Réalisme merveilleux, Fantastique, the uncanny, l'inquiétante étrangeté, Chamoiseau
in
Études Romanes de Lund
volume
82
pages
235 pages
publisher
Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet
defense location
Språk- och litteraturcentrum, sal H 435, Helgonabacken 12, Lund
defense date
2008-05-23 14:15
ISSN
0347-0822
ISBN
978-91-628-7472-8
language
French
LU publication?
yes
id
64425bef-361e-4874-993e-c36556f68237 (old id 1067419)
date added to LUP
2008-04-23 09:46:08
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:46
@phdthesis{64425bef-361e-4874-993e-c36556f68237,
  abstract     = {Patrick Chamoiseau is arguably the most prominent cultural personality from the French island of Martinique. His reputation is due to the worldwide success of his novels, especially Texaco, winner of the Prix Goncourt-award in 1992, but also to the fact that he is the leading theorist of the Créolité, an ideological movement whose aim is to preserve the character of Creole identity and culture against the threat of assimilation. Chamoiseau’s importance in an ideological context tends to overshadow his literary qualities, his novels being often seen as illustrations of his political ideas.<br/><br>
Although Chamoiseau’s ideological views aren’t totally absent from his literary work, his novels strike the reader as extremely complex constructions, containing far more than a subversive aspect. An aspect that has been neglected by the critics is for example the supernatural. Probably because of the geographic vicinity to South America, Chamoiseau’s use of the supernatural has been, rather hastily, considered as typical of magical realism or marvellous realism. This dissertation aims at showing that the fantastic, as defined by Tzvetan Todorov (1970), is better suited to describe this aspect of Chamoiseau’s novels, especially Biblique des derniers gestes (2002).<br/><br>
Our main objective is, however, not to decide whether the novel belongs to the fantastic as a genre, but to examine the reasons why it is used. A close analysis shows that it is often in relation to the past of Martinique that the supernatural appears. Thanks to the theory of the fantastic, we find three possible explanations of this fact. Firstly, the supernatural is juxtaposed to the real in order to reveal its limits and its “constructedness”. Martinican past thus appears as a French construction. Secondly, the fantastic can be used to reveal the absence of genuine Martinican history. Finally, the fantastic can be a reminder of a terrible event from the past. In conclusion it can be said that Chamoiseau uses the fantastic in order to write the history of an event that he sees as the origin of Martinique: slavery. By doing this he contributes to the fantastic as well, by showing that it is not necessarily gratuitous and by providing a good example of original and innovative use.},
  author       = {Lutas, Liviu},
  isbn         = {978-91-628-7472-8},
  issn         = {0347-0822},
  keyword      = {métalepse,Post-colonialisme,Surnaturel,Réalisme magique,Histoire,Réalisme merveilleux,Fantastique,the uncanny,l'inquiétante étrangeté,Chamoiseau},
  language     = {fre},
  pages        = {235},
  publisher    = {Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Études Romanes de Lund},
  title        = {Biblique des derniers gestes de Patrick Chamoiseau : Fantastique et Histoire},
  volume       = {82},
  year         = {2008},
}