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Introduction to a Poetics of Diversityby Édouard Glissant$
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Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620979

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620979.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

The Imagination of Languages

The Imagination of Languages

(p.75) 5 The Imagination of Languages*
Introduction to a Poetics of Diversity
Celia Britton
Liverpool University Press

Glissant and Gauvin discuss languages: the fact that language is no longer linked to identity, and the harm done by monolingualism. It is wrong to defend Creole ‘monolinguistically’: ‘créolité’ is an essentialist movement, unlike creolization. The imagination of languages allows us to see how languages meet up in the Chaos-World; it exists in some Western literature of the 20th century (e.g., Beckett, Pound, Joyce). Exoticism can be either positive or negative. Glissant himself has been influenced by the memory of Creole folk tales and also the work of Faulkner. For Antilleans, the French language has frozen into a kind of dead perfection. The shift from oral to written has necessitated the immediate construction of new forms of language in both Creole and French. ‘Subverting the language’ takes place through creolization and rejecting monolingualism. Prose is less able to do this than poetry and this leads to a dismantling of the traditional genres.

Keywords:   monolingualism, Créolité, literary genres

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