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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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Collective Narrative Voice in Malemort, La Case du commandeur and Mahagony

Collective Narrative Voice in Malemort, La Case du commandeur and Mahagony

(p.115) 8 Collective Narrative Voice in Malemort, La Case du commandeur and Mahagony
Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing

Celia Britton

Liverpool University Press

In these novels Glissant addresses the problem of the absence of a collective sense of identity in Martinique through the development of a collective narrative voice. Since the communal solidarity which such a voice implies does not in fact yet exist, it has to avoid imposing a false coercive uniformity; rather, it must be sufficiently fluid and flexible to include all the characters’ voices and, ideally, situate them in relation to each other. The three novels discussed here embody different phases of this search for a communal ‘nous’, from Malemort's despairing, indeterminate and fragmented ‘nous’, through the more vigorous and structured quest for collective identity in La Case du commandeur, to Mahagony's staging of a plurality of individual narrators existing in relation to each other and its metadiegetic critique of the two earlier novels. All three demonstrate the political relevance of the formal category of narrative voice.

Keywords:   Malemort, La Case du commandeur, Mahagony, narrative voice, collective identity

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