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Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing$
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Celia Britton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380369

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380369.001.0001

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Fictions of Identity and the Identities of Fiction in Tout-monde

Fictions of Identity and the Identities of Fiction in Tout-monde

(p.127) 9 Fictions of Identity and the Identities of Fiction in Tout-monde
Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing

Celia Britton

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the relation between Glissant's conception of personal identity and the ambiguous generic identity of Tout-monde (novel, autobiography, essay). With reference to Deleuze and Guattari's ‘rhizomatic’ principles of heterogeneity and connection, it analyses Tout-monde's disconcerting mixing of fiction with the real - through its unstructured narratives and the primacy it accords to place over characters, but above all through a manipulation of diegetic levels that is made possible by its refusal to assign unambiguous consistent identities to its narrators and sujets d’énonciation. Its tactic of apparently establishing a narrator for a particular section, only to suddenly as it were pull back from him to reveal another shadowy narrating presence in the background creates a deliberate confusion between autobiographer and novelist, but also novelist and character, in which the figure of ‘Glissant’ is paradoxically present on the same level as his fictional characters. Thus Glissant brings together his critiques of generic boundaries and of personal identity: neither the text not the sujet d’énonciation has a unitary identity.

Keywords:   Tout-monde, genre, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, rhizome, sujet d’énonciation

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