The Martinican poet, novelist, playwright and critic Édouard Glissant has always been preoccupied by power relations between the (ex-)colonized and the (ex-)colonizers. He is one of the most prominent and prolific postcolonial thinkers, and from his very first essay, Le Discours antillais of 1981 (translated as Caribbean Discourse by Jean-Michael Dash), to his most recent work, Le Monde incréé, published in 2001, he has been a keen observer of the decolonization process of the French Caribbean and other former colonies of the so-called "First World".
As a black intellectual living and teaching in New York, he is, together with Maryse Condé, "l'exception culturelle" in the postcolonial field, advocating notions such as creolization and rhizomatic identity. Maryse Condé has stated that the pan-African movement (Georges Padmore) and Négritude (Aimé Césaire) should be considered as globalizing tendencies in the African diaspora. However, while the Négritude prophets (such as Léon-Gontran Damas and L.S. Senghor) have focused on the solidarity between people of African descent, Glissant's concept of antillanité emphasizes the need to link the communities of the Caribbean archipelago, instead of dreaming about traveling back to "mother Africa". Due to intensified migration from the West Indies to North America and Europe, this concept of antillanité has evolved further into créolisation.
What these identity movements reveal is the interest of Francophone postcolonial intellectuals in locating themselves and their communities in the world. They have been working out ideals of transnationalism and multiculturalism, and have studied the dialectic connection between the colonies and the ex-colonies. Writers from Martinique and Guadeloupe have always been keen to distinguish themselves from la métropole: the quest for their identity is a core issue in the writings of Aimé Césaire and his followers, as well as Glissant and, today, the créolistes, Patrick Chamoiseau, Rapha‘l Confiant and Jean Bernabé. In Glissant's work, this ongoing critical reflection can be captured through two major oppositions: he has repeatedly reflected on the tension between the Oral and the Written, and between the Same and the Diverse. These two antagonisms, the first being linguistic but covering the whole issue of traditional vs. modern societies, and the second being inspired by Victor Segalen's Essai sur l'exotisme (1917), are, however, challenged by the Internet.
This article will analyze the way in which Glissant's Traité du tout-monde of 1997 deals with both positive and negative consequences of the Net. Some of these had already been dealt with in the novel Tout-monde (1993), of which Traité du tout-monde is in many ways the theoretical counterpart. It is worth considering the degree to which the titles of both the novel and the essay have a creolizing effect, merging tout with monde, thereby marking the deconstruction of standard French. At the same time, this process of naming, of choosing a new word for a new phenomenon, highlights the oral origin of critical essays and theories by Caribbean intellectuals. With the concept of tout-monde, Glissant designates the impact of globalization on France's ex-colonies, whose authentic cultures are in danger of being suppressed.
In his Caribbean Discourse, Glissant stresses the extent to which the domination of the West continues because of its technological superiority:
The e-economy, telecommunications technology and related phenomena are creating the omnipresence of the world as a whole. Glissant is well aware of the fact that globalization means the start of a new age, with new hegemonizing ambitions: tout-monde, elsewhere in the same work, becomes a synonym for totalité-terre (Traité 193), totalité-monde (Traité 230), and chaos-monde (Traité 22).
Undoubtedly the most compelling image and illustration of the world as a global village, the Internet proves to be an extremely powerful medium that knocks down all kinds of communication barriers. In Glissant's writing, the Net is further correlated, as we will see, with the phenomenon of blending or métissage of all cultures, peoples, religions and even languages. In his Traité du tout-monde, Glissant examines the enormous consequences of the globalized economy, and particularly the Net, through a series of poetic sayings, evocative of La Rochefoucauld, that reflect his sociological and philosophical perspective.
Glissant is preoccupied with how the Net has changed the way people acquire information and study literature and art, and especially with the way this has affected the relationship between the "First" and "Third" worlds, since one needs material resources (money) and intellectual competence (education) to have access to the whole world's knowledge.
The point where these transnational and transcultural "forces" intersect with his theoretical concepts of postcolonialism - créolisation, identité rhizomatique, poétique du divers - requires closer examination.
|1. THE NET'S THREAT TO THE CULTURE OF WRITING|
|1.1 Anancy's web|
An attachment to the act of writing with a pen may partially explain Glissant's ambivalence towards the Internet. Pens and paper are precious objects to some writers (and critics), some of whom display an almost fetishistic attitude towards the texture of a manuscript. Until recently, for many born in the Caribbean, pens, paper, and books were luxuries. Think of Joseph Zobel's description of books: "Livres rapportés de Fort-de-France, livres trouvés chez mes camarades, très vieux livres amputés des couvertures" borrowed from a schoolmaster (La Rue Cases-Nègres 231-232); the favorite pastime of the protagonist in this novel is "tracer, à tour de rôle, des arabesques sur une feuille de papier, selon des conventions diverses" (231). Alternatively, recall Jamaica Kincaid's meditations on the library building awaiting repairs in A Small Place. One can imagine that for writers such as these, the Internet represents a phenomenal shift, a real revolution. Electronic mail often replaces old-fashioned epistolary exchanges. It abolishes time and space by allowing people who may well be in different countries, on different continents, and in different time zones to exchange information almost instantaneously. For a writer from a small island on the periphery of the literary centers, this creates a dazzlingly large ouverture, a door to a world that previously seemed both geographically and culturally remote, and hence, inaccessible. As a strange, intermediate stage between the oral and the written, communication through e-mail gains colloquial characteristics, and previously formal communication rapidly becomes informal. In an interview conducted by Andrea Schwieger Hiepko, Glissant emphasizes the resemblance between oralité and communication in this new networking process:
What is more, the fact that the interlocutors cannot actually see each other makes the Internet somewhat treacherous. This leads us to Anancy, the trickster-figure par excellence in Caribbean folklore. Anancy the spider is a symbol of resistance and marronnage, of struggling against all kinds of domination, in spite of "invisibility" within the web. The image of the spider weaving its web is particularly useful, since the globalization of information and the new communication technologies create the illusion of a world wide web where everything and everyone is in a virtual state of connection and, one might hope, better understanding. The Net offers a utopian vision of a world where no borders separate people, where racial or linguistic distinctions are non-existent, and where discrimination is ineffective. This view of the Internet as a linguistic utopia exists despite the fact that English dominates. The metaphor of the spider's web also allows us to conceive of the Net as something "coming-into-being", never totally finished, a virtual and intangible network of people and institutions.
|1.2 The Internet and the reinforcement of old hegemonies in a chaos-monde|
Caribbean authors have inherited the complex of being "descendants of slaves", and, thus, not belonging to the islands where they were born. Glissant is very conscious of his ancestors having been obliged to migrate from Africa to the Caribbean, and he feels this migrant condition as an "appel au divers", as an urge to move between cities and across continents. Glissant is a traveling observer, noticing what's going on around him, i.e. in the "global village". Reflecting on the consequences of dislocation and the state of "inbetweenness" (to employ Bhabha's well-known concept) in which he finds himself, Glissant foresees not only that exile and migration will become more intense, frequent, and generalized, but that this whole turmoil will create chaos reminiscent of the Caribbean societies' genesis. Other Caribbean intellectuals who have voluntarily migrated to the United States have developed similar socio-cultural perspectives on the region. The Cuban critic, Antonio Ben’tez-Rojo, talks about chaos in The Repeating Island. Both Glissant and Ben’tez-Rojo believe that Caribbean societies were born in chaos, and are made up today of chaos ("les sociétés krazé", as Auguste Armet called the French Antilles in the subtitle of his 1982 article, "Guadeloupe et Martinique"). Therefore, they can function as a model for what is occurring on a global scale today, an idea which Rapha‘l Confiant expresses as follows in an interview:
Glissant's cultural chaos-monde, a concept reminiscent of theories of chaos in the sciences, is a whirlpool leading to undefined and unpredictable transformations:
Glissant emphasizes the singularity of the people of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and of the whole Caribbean archipelago, by highlighting the clash, or écart, between the world of the colonizer and the world of the colonized in all his writings. "Petits peuples", "peoples who until now inhabited the hidden side of the earth" (Caribbean Discourse 76), the micro-societies of the Caribbean are assumed to have come into existence only when conquered by the West with its political and military power and technological superiority. For Martinique and Guadeloupe, the départementalisation of 1946 did indeed mean "l'irruption dans la modernité". This idea of "eruption into modernity", which Glissant understands as the brutal emergence of a literature without a literary tradition (Caribbean Discourse 146), also refers to the wide-scale politics of assimilation and massive imports of French food and goods. On a psychological level, the invasion of French values meant the interiorization of an inferiority complex, and collective estrangement from origins and identities. From an economic point of view, it signified the consolidation of dependence on la Mère-patrie, France being, strangely enough, both mother and father of the Filles de France. Invaded by the "free economy", after having been exploited for centuries by the mercantilist pre-industrial plantation system, the French Antilles now surrendered to the huge migration trend. The organization BUMIDOM (Bureau de Migration des Départements d'Outre-mer) helped whole generations to leave the islands where they awaited the status of assistés. In la métropole, instead, they dreamed of achieving a better life, providing their families with low-paid jobs in the métro, factories, hotels and hospitals.
Glissant fears the effects of globalization because, especially in the new nations ruled by vulnerable or merciless leaders, it is not synonymous with democratization, free access to schooling, and equal chances in education. The technological superiority of the North still enslaves the South. This is the primary negative aspect of globalization that is reinforced by the Internet:
Concerned by the fact that globalization deepens the abîme, the gap between North and South, Glissant shows himself to be skeptical about equal opportunities for rich and poor. The créoliste group, formed by Patrick Chamoiseau, Rapha‘l Confiant and Jean Bernabé, has repeatedly made the same chilling observation: the Internet traps ex-colonized populations; it gives them a false impression of autonomy and better access to, and control of, the surrounding world. Instead, what the Net really does is to abolish the 7000 km distance between the provinces d'Outre-mer and Paris, so much so that the pro-independence movement in the French Caribbean has been weakened by the development of telecommunications and electronic mail. For Rapha‘l Confiant, the Internet ties Martinique more firmly to France:
|2. THE SAME AND THE DIVERSE|
|2.1 Sameness imposed by the West|
This phenomenon of global communication is responsible for intense and frequent "contacts de cultures et de civilisations" (to quote anthropologist Michel Leiris, 1955). Glissant understands that this evolution will mean the end of "cultural sameness":
Glissant and the younger generation of créolistes, who lean heavily on Glissant's ideas, defend the diversity of their Caribbean culture which bears influences from several cultures. This process of interpenetration and mixture, of blending and interracial and intercultural impact, is créolisation. The métissage of cultures, languages, religions and people in this part of the New World justifies the claim for recognition and rehabilitation of the complex kaleidoscopic nature of Caribbean culture. As Patrick Chamoiseau makes clear in his prizewinning novel Texaco (1992), people of African, European and Asian descent have all brought their own baggage to the New World. The culture of the Caribbean is Creole, i.e. springing from various sources; both the culture and the people are characterized by syncretism. Indeed, Chamoiseau and Confiant go even further and speak of créolisation créolité - which is however a static identity, and for this reason Glissant rejects the concept. Glissant for his part stresses instead the idea of continuously shifting identity, with his rhizomatic theory of culture: the construction of identity is an ongoing process and the result is an unpredictable, fractalizing hybrid.
One notices how the definition of créolisation has been enlarged, and no longer merely pertains to the (extended) Caribbean and some other départements d'Outre-mer such as Mauritius and Réunion. Indeed, Glissant and the créolistes have extended its usage to describe what happens on the global scene. This glissement makes the concept ambiguous and paradoxical, because it relates to a worldwide movement, and comes close to globalization.
On the other hand, Glissant questions whether phenomena such as cultural hybridity, miscegenation, the Creole language, literature in patois and so on are fully recognized and accepted. He warns that the Internet represents a great risk when it comes to comprehension and acceptance of the Other (here, the non-European) and the Diverse. Glissant is afraid of "une dilution standardisée" (192), a standardized dilution, a homogenization which will nullify the specificity and the authenticity of the cultures and communities he cherishes:
In the end, a new cultural sameness imposes itself.
|2.2 Poetics of relation|
One way to resist "le tout-monde, qui est totalisant" (Traité 22) is to believe firmly in one's own specificity and to demonstrate it in art and literature in which a different kind of poetics is at work. This Poetic of Relations (English title by Jean-Michael Dash) is linked in Traité du tout-monde to the extended possibilities offered in the field of communication technologies and by the Internet:
In Tout-monde, the character of Mathieu, alter ego of the author, defines globalization as changes and exchanges between people and places, languages and cultures, altering individual and collective identities. However strong the homogenization, postcolonial literatures will counterbalance processes of standardization and proclaim their cultural richness and creative potential. The "cross-cultural imagination", to use Wilson Harris's concept for a poetics of creolization (The Womb of Space 1983), will reverse these pernicious processes. Both Harris and Glissant conceive of a "poetics" which works against the suppression of authentic cultures, and the various effects of the unifying phenomena of colonization and globalization. Glissant writes:
Glissant's Poétique de la relation opposes to the unified and canonized Western order the fragmented, hybrid Caribbean disorder or chaos, which generates a new type of order and culture. Indeed, the globalization process is responsible for exportation and importation of cultural goods: Creole art is no longer consumed only in the Caribbean, but also in Europe, America, and Asia. If the periphery is greatly influenced by the society of the center, the reverse is also the case. In the same way, the Caribbean has massively imported European, as well as non-European, products, both cultural and otherwise. The Dutch Caribbean author Frank Martinus Arion notes the extent to which Chinese food is consumed on Curaçao, competing with the traditional local dishes (Arion 1998). Examples such as the Trinidad carnival in Notting Hill, London (Nurse 1996) and Japanese salsa "demonstrate the intertwined nature of the global and the local" (Hosokawa 1999).
|2.3 Creolization and "Creoleness"|
In the Éloge de la créolité manifesto of 1989, Bernabé, Chamoiseau and Confiant no longer seek to limit créolisation to the Caribbean. As a consequence of the flow of migration, in the past and in the present, it also operates today in the States, so much so that créolisation also means "Americanization". Créolité or "Caribbeanness" is "la dimension américaine de l'être-au-monde-antillais" (Bernabé et al 1989, 22):
- the adaptation of Europeans, Africans and Asians to the New World; and
- the cultural confrontation of these peoples within the same space, resulting in a mixed culture called Creole.
There are obviously no strict frontiers separating zones of Creoleness from zones of Americanness. We might find them juxtaposed or interpenetrated within the same country: thus in the U.S.A, Louisiana and Mississippi are predominantly Creole ... one might rightly think that the conditions are ripe for a process of Creolisation to start presently in New England. (Bernabé et al, In Praise of Creoleness 93)
Creolization, then, clearly exists beyond the Caribbean. In Glissant's eyes, this ongoing process of becoming less "pure" and more and more Creole marks the entire planet. "Le monde se créolise", was one of his major statements at the University of York in his doctor honoris causa speech (Discours de Glendon, 1990). Both Glissant and the authors of the Éloge de la créolité manifesto have their eyes fixed on America and its own zones of creolization. Given the multiracial and multicultural features of the U.S., the Martinicans consider that America is deluding itself in respect of its own cultural diversity.
Ultimately, creolization comes very close to globalization and at the same time, the latter threatens the creolization process. As long as we understand creolization as referring to the typical hybrid features of Caribbean culture and identity, we read it as the antonym of globalization. But remember that the authors themselves have "extended" and expanded the notion geographically and culturally to apply to the whole planet. As a matter of fact, when Glissant describes globalization in terms of creolization, the two become synonymous.
Because the new technologies of mass communication, and especially the Internet, co-operate in the processes of standardization and homogenization, Glissant feels some anxiety about the future of "minority discourses", "migrant writing", and vernacular literatures. In the long term, globalization and the Net may generate the complete reverse of what creolization was initially meant to be: recognition of and respect for diversity, the capacity to discover the Other and accept his/her difference, cultural heterogeneity, and the hybrid parts that make up societies. As Victor Segalen famously commented in his Essai sur l'exotisme of 1978: "Le divers décroît. Là est le grand danger terrestre" (78).
If Glissant warns against the Internet as a tool that makes this "total world" possible, without any guarantee of genuine recognition and acceptance of the Other, it is also because of his doubts about the "reading method" of this communication machine. While surfing on the Net, Glissant feels ill at ease because of the slippery and transient aspect of this medium. Instead of being fixed, signs and significations seem to vanish, and are impossible to fix on the page:
|2.4 Rhizomatic identity|
The question of how créolité and créolisation correspond to globalization is addressed by Patrick Chamoiseau in an interview:
[Patrick Chamoiseau:] I see globalisation as the emergence of a totalité-monde that will penetrate all the world's languages, cultures, and conditions. Of course capitalists can profit from globalisation. But globalisation affords us opportunities, too. It gives us more freedom, both individually and culturally. It's easier to be Antillean or Breton or black in a world that is linked up than it was in the old shackles of the nation-states. There is no reason to abandon this vast electronic network which now hangs over the world to the dominating powers. If we do so, then we'll all be subject to homogenisation. (Lucien Taylor, "Créolité Bites" 137)
A further element in the créolité/créolisation paradigm is the idea of rhizomatic identity, with the concept of the rhizome having been borrowed from Deleuze and Guattari (Rhizome, 1976). Over and against the self-identical notion of one root - based on one nationality, one language, one place and one ethnic affiliation - the rhizomatic identity, the hybrid, multiple-rooted identity, will characterize everybody, since all will be migrants in the third millennium. Globalization and intensive use of the Internet are obliging everyone to rethink notions such as citoyenneté and nationalité:
La "réalisation" de la totalité-terre a changé la perception ou l'imaginaire que chaque communauté humaine avait de "sa" terre. Les frontières physiques des nations ont été rendues perméables aux échanges culturels et intellectuels, aux métissages des sensibilités, qui ont fait que l'État-nation désormais ne suffit plus à barricader de l'intérieur le rapport de chacun à la terre. (Traité 193)
Moreover, as a result of the intensified exchanges between countries and cultures, civilizations will rejuvenate. Cultures such as the Caribbean, in which creolization is an old phenomenon, and composite cultures, for which creolization is more recent, will come together to cross-breed (métisser):
Tous les peuples sont jeunes dans la totalité-monde. Il n'y a plus de vieilles civilisations qui veilleraient à la santé du Tout, comme des patriarches vêtus de sagesse séculaire, là même où d'autres peuples seraient ardents et comme sauvages d'une jeunesse non encore éprouvée. La Démesure a raccourci les temps et les a démultipliés ... Nous sommes tous jeunes et anciens, sur les horizons. Cultures ataviques et cultures composites, colonisateurs et colonisés d'hier, oppresseurs et opprimés d'aujourd'hui. (Traité 230)
On the other hand, the Internet creates a whirlpool where all people meet, but where diversity and cultural differences are only superficially acknowledged, and never really explored or respected. Everything passes in an instant, like consumable goods flashing before our eyes:
Cette vitesse même, qui est si précieuse, ne pourrait-elle pas constituer un manque? Dans notre fréquentation de plus en plus accélérée de la diversité du monde, nous avons besoin de haltes, de temps de méditation, où nous sortons du flot des informations qui nous sont fournies, pour commencer à mettre de l'ordre dans nos hasards. Le livre est un de ces moments. Après les premiers temps d'excitation, d'appétit boulimique pour les nouveaux moyens de la connaissance que nous offrent les techniques informatiques, un équilibre est souhaitable ... (Traité 172)
In Écrire en pays dominé (1997), Chamoiseau shares Glissant's anxiety regarding the new technologies and their effects: a mixture between an autobiographical essay and a literary history of the French Caribbean, this work repeatedly stresses the new, subtle forms of domination in the 21st century. It is not surprising to see that the narrator quotes "Monsieur Glissant" quite often in his "Sentimenthèque", a huge gallery of authors who have resisted rules and all kinds of colonization. "The Old Warrior" is convinced:
Significantly, his anguish concerns the whole body of new technologies which dematerialize the world and "electronize" the universe:
For Glissant, globalization through the mass media also endangers minor and postcolonial literatures in non-European languages. The domination of English is also very strongly felt by other Francophone writers, for instance by the Haitian author Jean Métellus, who comments on this while traveling on a train together with 104 writers from all over Europe. This is another threat to French Caribbean identity and to la Francophonie, the community of French-speaking people which is becoming smaller as the Anglophone community becomes increasingly stronger. One also has to mention, in this respect, that France and its institutions have been rather belated in their involvement in the process of networking.
Despite the emancipation of Creole by the créolistes, who defend it as a small language which has to be recognized, Glissant doubts that it can withstand the ruling presence of world languages (English, French, Spanish). In a conversation in Montréal with one of Québec's major intellectuals and poets, Gaston Miron, Glissant mourns "la dérive des langues": "la langue créole aussi (est) laissée à l'abandon, et bien d'autres disparaissent, et ... il faut courir à la rencontre des langues du monde sans se cantonner à notre seule voix" (Traité 224). On the other hand, the Net also permits unheard (creolized) communities to let their voices be heard in the Tower of Babel that is the third millennium. Today, most of the Francophone Caribbean authors have a website with a rhizomatic structure of hyperlinks, and invite scholars and readers to view their personal pages, join mailing lists or enter portals which really open doors to new wor(l)ds.
The digital age obliges Glissant to recognize that it promotes and, at the same time, tends to eradicate the very same differences and cultural specificities for which he and his colleagues have been struggling. Together with Chamoiseau, Glissant is nostalgic for a time when the Diverse, as proclaimed by Victor Segalen, was still something to learn about very slowly, for which you needed a lot of time, and a long, difficult, risky journey. Chamoiseau's "Warrior" repeatedly echoes Glissant's statements about the new hegemony:
An important tool in the inevitable, ongoing process of creolization of cultures, the Internet promotes a new world, one in which the old hegemonies collapse and where young civilizations (such as those of the Caribbean) are made equal with the Old World. However, the dialectic of globalization and creolization is double-edged. On the one hand, it permits the discovery and acceptance of the Other; that is to say, it nourishes rhizomatic identity, aiding the coming-into-being of a cross-cultural, multiracial world. Now in his seventies, Glissant, however, is dubious about the phenomenon of globalization: it puts at risk the recognition of people's differences and specificities. His fear that the "total world", shaped in the third millennium, will leave out small cultures, dominated communities, and minority discourses, is well-founded and legitimate. It is shared by other intellectuals and thinkers who are convinced that the Net will not lead to the realization of a unique global world, a locus of proximity and extensive co-operation between people everywhere. In questioning the probability of cyberspace and the new communication technologies bringing humanity together, Glissant shares the skepticism of, for instance, Canadian philosopher Pierre Lévy. In a special 2000 issue of Le Magazine Littéraire on the topic of modern utopias, Lévy states that the challenge in cyberspace will be to "explode uniformity", to break through this virtual homogeneity and to make place for diversity.
The Internet further widens l'écart between rich and poor, literate and illiterate, North and South; it eradicates the mother tongues of many "small peoples", now all colonized by the so-called First World; it spreads a universal Net language. Small wonder that Glissant finds reasons to be pessimistic. Could it be that this planetary shift, this phenomenal revolution which attacks and corrodes everything, has come too quickly, and that he was badly prepared for it, as the following meditation seems to suggest?
 A much shorter version of this paper was given at the Seminar "Globalisation and the New World Literatures" at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands), on 23 June 2000. See also the electronic edition of Africultures at: http://www.africultures.com/africultures/revue.htm.
 Maryse Condé, "Globalisation et diaspora", Diogène, no.184, 1998; also published in Research in African Literatures, vol.29, no.3, as "O Brave New World" (see http://iupjournals.org/ral/ral29-3.html).
 The author writes: "a sign was placed on the front of the building saying, This building was damaged in the earth-quake of 1974, repairs are pending. The sign hangs there, and hangs there more than a decade later, with its unfulfilled promise of repair, and you might see this as a sort of quaintness on the part of the islanders, these people descended from slaves - what a strange, unusual perception of time they have. (...) The library is one of those splendid old buildings from colonial times, and the sign telling of the repairs is a splendid old sign from colonial times." (Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place, 1988, 8-9; see also 41-42).
 For a detailed study of the economic diaspora, see Mary Chamberlain (ed.), Caribbean Migration: Globalised Identities, 1998.
 Maryse Condé joins Glissant in insisting that migration is a factor in the revolutionary change in Guadeloupean society, with the whole island becoming a traveling and transit zone. In the third millennium, "la terre est aussi microscopique qu'une tête d'épingle", and Guadeloupe is sold to "toutes qualités de Blancs venus du Canada ou de l'Italie, des Vietnamiens" (Traversée de la mangrove, 1989, 139-40).
 Glissant writes: "Les théories des sciences du Chaos ("Les sciences du Chaos, vous connaissez?...) ... Les systèmes erratiques, les invariants, les réalités fractales sont des particularités non seulement de la matière en mouvement, mais aussi des cultures en interaction." (Traité 215)
 In his Essai sur les moeurs (1756), Voltaire aptly expressed this idea as follows: "la Martinique et la Guadeloupe sont des points sur la carte et des événements qui se perdent dans l'histoire de l'univers."
 Uwe Schäfer writes: "Wilson Harris of Guyana sees his poetics as a contribution to parallel futures of a 'creative and re-creative balance between diverse cultures.' Édouard Glissant of Martinique speaks of a 'poetics of relation.' Glissant sketches his poetics of relation, or, rather, his poetics of relations, of a non-universalist diversity, of hidden creative non-transparencies, which hopefully will escape analytical thought, and can never be fully understood and neatly tucked away on library shelves. Harris states that fiction is seldom gauged by its potential to resist exploitation/alienation." ("Visions without Presence" 66-67)
 Instead of using "mondialisation", Glissant introduces his own vocabulary, always undermining the dominance of the French and English languages through the use of his own neologisms or/and "creolisms" such as "mondialité" and "globalité" (from the idea of globalization).
 Two of Glissant's favorite characters (Senglis et Laroche) describe cities like London, Havana and New York as "terres à vocation d'exil, déjà au XIXe siècle". Laroche depicts New Orleans as a Creole island on the American continent: "Mon cher, tout un morceau de France, que convoitent les Américains. Ils finiront par nous la ravir, vous verrez ... Une ville étonnante! Tout y est de Normandie ou d'Espagne, tout y respire l'air chaud des habitations, qu'ils appellent là-bas des plantations. Le coton y remplace notre canne, mais c'est à peu près rien d'autre qu'ici." (Tout-monde 87)
 The disastrous effects of modernization/mondialization on culture, and more precisely on the cultural productions of those peripheral and long "invisible" cultures like the Afro-Caribbean (cf. Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark, 1992), were already a major theme in Glissant's first essay. The very difficult conditions under which cultural productions such as music ("zouk"), literature ("veillée" and Creole folktales) and theater are born made him skeptical about the existence of a distinctive French Caribbean culture.
 See Le Nouvel Observateur, no.1860, 29 juin 2000: "Aucun raisonnement ne peut venir à bout de l'indifférence dans laquelle la langue française est tombée pour la majorité des Européens. L'imaginaire européen est multiple, pluriel. Cette diversité doit être préservée et non pas enfermée dans un moule commun ... Il y a nécessité d'affirmer les identités culturelles avant de fonder une Europe culturelle englobante, unifiante: on ne peut harmoniser que ce qui a été cerné, précisé, décrit, compris."
Arion, Frank-Martinus. "The Great Curassow or the Road to Caribbeanness", Callaloo, 21.3, 1998, 447-452.
Armet, Auguste. "Guadeloupe et Martinique: des sociétés krazé", Présence Africaine, no.121-122, 1982, 11-19.
Bernabé, Jean, Chamoiseau, Patrick, and Confiant, Rapha‘l. Éloge de la créolité, Paris: Gallimard, 1989 / In Praise of Creoleness, Paris: Gallimard, 1993 (translation M.B. Taleb-Khyar).
Ben’tez-Rojo, Antonio. The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective, Durham: Duke University Press, 1996.
Chamoiseau, Patrick. Texaco, Paris: Gallimard, 1992.
Chamoiseau, Patrick. Écrire en pays dominé, Paris: Gallimard, 1997.
Chamberlain, Mary (ed.). Caribbean Migration: Globalised Identities, London: Routledge, 1998.
Condé, Maryse. Traversée de la mangrove, Paris: Mercure de France, 1987.
Condé, Maryse. "Globalisation et diaspora", Diogène, no.184, 1998, 29-36.
Deleuze, Gilles. Mille plateaux, Paris: Minuit, 1980.
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