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The Literatures of the French PacificReconfiguring Hybridity$
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Raylene Ramsay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380376

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380376.001.0001

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date: 21 August 2018

Cross-cultural Readings of ‘Le Maître de Koné’ [The Master of Koné]

Cross-cultural Readings of ‘Le Maître de Koné’ [The Master of Koné]

Intertextuality as Hybridity

(p.238) 7 Cross-cultural Readings of ‘Le Maître de Koné’ [The Master of Koné]
The Literatures of the French Pacific

Raylene Ramsay

Liverpool University Press

Kanak texts of oral tradition, borrowed, appropriated or reconfigured, have significantly marked New Caledonian literatures. Such inter-textual encounters are traced out in a study of the many re-writings of the well-known tale of “The Chief and the Lizard’. José-Louis Barbançon, for example, self-identifying as an ‘Oceanian of European origin’ constructs a world where the Word and the Land are living benevolent forces (‘séjour paisible’) and offer the Caledonian an identity. At the same time, this is a violent land (‘terre violente’) of European and Kanak conflict, unequal power, and land-loss arousing the avenging lizard. The texts of the literary founding fathers turn these tropes to more binary purposes – the lizard is a cosmic force to be battled in the work of Mariotti and the mysteries of the lizard are avatars of the fascinating barbarity of uncivilized man in Baudoux. In settler text, the violent land or dark continent of the lizard needs to be conquered and made fertile. The re-stagings of the old story of the lizard demonstrate varying degrees of ‘incorporation’ of one culture by another, also figured by the related central and intertextual tropes of food and sorcery.

Keywords:   Intertextuality, Cross-cultural readings, The Chief and the Lizard, Oral tradition, Re-writing, Incorporation, Food, Sorcery

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