Desmond Painter. Edouard Glissant en die poëtika van postkolonialiteit

Edouard Glissant

Edouard Glissant

Edouard Glissant is vroeër hierdie jaar oorlede.

Hy is in 1928 in Martinique gebore — net drie jaar na Frantz Fanon, wat ook in Martinique gebore is. Glissant het Fanon egter met presies 50 jaar oorleef — Fanon is al in 1961 dood, op die jeugdige ouderdom van 36.

Ons het in Suid-Afrika, en in Afrikaans, waarskynlik nog te min aandag gegee aan Glissant. As briljante digter en romansier, ja, maar ook as filosoof en teoretikus van marginaliteit, diversiteit, kreoolsheid, post-europese artikulasies van moderniteit, die post-koloniale kondisie, taal en identiteit…

Fanon het die psigiese geweld van koloniale rassisme soos min ander verwoord. Hy het die teenstrydighede en slaggate van dekolonisasie in Afrika amper profeties uitgewys. Maar hy is al in 1961 dood — hy het in ‘n ander wêreld as ons geleef.

Glissant is nie noodwendig ‘n alternatief nie (Fanon is nog glad nie irrelevant nie), maar hy is myns insiens ‘n belangrike aansluitingspunt, ‘n verdere bron van konsepte, invalshoeke, trajekte en drome, veral in die sg. “postkoloniale teorie”, ‘n tradisie “still haunted by the spectre of Europe” (Achille Mbembe).

Hier volg drie kort uittreksels uit die Engelse vertaling van Glissant se boek Poetics of Relation.

Imaginary


Thinking thought usually amounts to withdrawing into a dimensionless place in which the idea of thought alone persists. But thought in reality spaces itself out into the world. It informs the imaginary of peoples, their varied poetics, which it then transforms, meaning, in them its risk becomes realized.

Culture is the precaution of those who claim to think thought but who steer clear of its chaotic journey. Evolving cultures infer Relation, the overstepping that grounds their unity-diversity.

Thought draws the imaginary of the past: a knowledge becoming. One cannot stop it to assess it nor isolate it to transmit it. It is sharing one can never not retain, nor ever, in standing still, boast about.

Repetitions


This flood of convergences, publishing itself in the guise of the commonplace. No longer is the latter an accepted generality, suitable and dull – no longer is it deceptively obvious exploiting common sense – it is, rather, all that is relentlessly and endlessly reiterated by these encounters. On every side the idea is being relayed. When you awaken an observation, a certainty, a hope, they are already struggling somewhere, elsewhere, in another form.

Repetition, moreover, in an acknowledged form of consciousness both here and elsewhere. Relentlessly resuming something you have already said. Consenting to an infinitesimal momentum, an addition perhaps unnoticed that stubbornly persists in your knowledge.

The difficulty: to keep this growing pile of common places from ending up as dispirited grumbling – may art provide! The probability: that you come to the bottom of all confluences to mark more strongly your inspirations.

Generalization


Recognizing, imagining, Relation.
Yet another undertaking, thoroughly disguised, of universalizing generalization?
Escape, the problems at our heels?
No imagination helps avert destitution in reality, none can oppose oppressions or sustain those who “withstand” in body or spirit. But imagination changes mentalities, however slowly it may go about this.

No matter where one is, no matter how strong the force of errantry, one can hear the mounting desire to “give-on-and-with”, to discover order in chaos or at least to guess its unlikely motivation: to develop this theory that would escape generalizations.

Poetics? Precisely this double thrust, being a theory that tries to conclude, a presence that concludes (presumes) nothing. Never one without the other. That is how the instant and duration comfort us.
Every poetics is a palliative for eternity.

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6 Kommentare op “Desmond Painter. Edouard Glissant en die poëtika van postkolonialiteit”

  1. Andries Bezuidenhout :

    Ek hou hiervan: “Every poetics is a palliative for eternity.”

  2. Desmond :

    Ek ook. Sy versamelde gedigte is so 5 jaar gelede in Engelse vertaling gepubliseer, maar dit is deksels moeilik om Engelse vertalings van sy gedigte op die internet op te spoor.

  3. Andries Bezuidenhout :

    TIK, Desmond, TIK! (‘n Mens moet seker versigtig wees as jy hierdie woord gebruik met iemand wat in die Kolonie bly.)

  4. Desmond :

    Nee man, ek kan nie nog bodder om te tik nie. Dit is 2011 en ek woon in Johan Swarts se utopie: ek skryf nie, ek tik nie, ek blaai nie, ek dink nie, I just surf this wave of information into that gold gilded futurama! (Jammer, Johan, net ‘n grappie; ek moet my tweedejaars se antwoordstelle merk, so my kop raas ‘n bietjie…)

    Hier’s solank ‘n lekker artiketjie oor hoe Glissant Deleuze/Guattari se idees gebruik maar ook verbystreef:

    http://drabinski.wordpress.com/2007/05/15/glissant-deleuze-rhizome-nomad/

  5. Breyten Breytenbach :

    In die “Imagine Africa” boek – wat darem seker nou al op is Mzansi toe – is daar die volledige Engelse vertaling van ‘n kort boeke geskryf deur Glissant en Patrick Chamoiseau, “The uncompromising Beauty of the World : An Open Letter to Barack Obama.” Glissant het ook ‘n Instituut opgerig met die naam van Toutmonde, een van sy sleutelbegrippe. Vir redelik maklike toegang tot sy werk moet julle die verfilmde onderhoud wat Manthia Diawara met Glissant gemaak het probeer te sien kry. Probeer dit bekom deur kontak te maak met Adam Wiedewitsch wie se vonkposadres ek in my brief oor Imagine Africa verskaf het.

  6. Desmond :

    Dankie, Breyten, vir die verdere verwysings. Hier’s nog ‘n mooi stuk oor Glissant (met mooi foto’s ook), geskryf 2 dae na sy dood, deur Laila Pedro, ‘n nagraadse student by CUNY: http://idiommag.com/2011/02/toujours-tout-monde-for-edouard-glissant/

    Nog iets wat ek insprirend gevind het, is ‘n manifes wat Glissant ‘n paar jaar terug saam met Ernest Breleur, Patrick Chamoiseau, Serge Domi, Gérard Delver, Guillaume Pigeard de Gurbert, Olivier Portecop, Olivier Pulvar, en Jean-Claude William opgestel het: A Plea for “Products of High Necessity”: http://www.humaniteinenglish.com/spip.php?article1163

    Ek hou van die amper “Deleuziaanse” klem wat geplaas word op die beginsel van positiewe potensialiteit, produktiwiteit en begeerte — hulle verwys byvoorbeeld na “myriads of talents, abilities, creative activities, fertile insanities…” Die durf om te midde striemende kritiek ook ‘n politiek van vreugde en affirmasie aan die lewe te hou, eerder as die chroniese melancholie van sekere “Westerse” linkse diskoerse.

    Is ek reg om hier ‘n fokus op “lewe” eerder as “leemte” (“lack”) te bespeur (“leemte”: die spook van Lacan en die psigoanalise wat so dikwels nog by Europese kritiese teorie loop)?

    Onlangs het Mbembe hierdie “produktiewe” beginsels ook by Fanon belig (juis teen die Lacaniaanse appropriasie van sy werk as ‘n soort negatiewe dialektiek van begeerte). Mbembe lees in Fanon ‘n “relentless drive to augment and defend the powers of life, powers Fanon always understood in terms of becoming.” Hy praat ook van “life as a relentlessly generative force”.

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