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Biblique des derniers gestes de Patrick Chamoiseau: Fantastique et Histoire
Lund University.
2008 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Patrick Chamoiseau is arguably the most prominent cultural personality from the French island of Martinique. His reputation is due to the worldwide success of his novels, especially Texaco, winner of the Prix Goncourt-award in 1992, but also to the fact that he is the leading theorist of the Créolité, an ideological movement whose aim is to preserve the character of Creole identity and culture against the threat of assimilation. Chamoiseau’s importance in an ideological context tends to overshadow his literary qualities, his novels being often seen as illustrations of his political ideas.Although Chamoiseau’s ideological views aren’t totally absent from his literary work, his novels strike the reader as extremely complex constructions, containing far more than a subversive aspect. An aspect that has been neglected by the critics is for example the supernatural. Probably because of the geographic vicinity to South America, Chamoiseau’s use of the supernatural has been, rather hastily, considered as typical of magical realism or marvellous realism. This dissertation aims at showing that the fantastic, as defined by Tzvetan Todorov (1970), is better suited to describe this aspect of Chamoiseau’s novels, especially Biblique des derniers gestes (2002).Our main objective is, however, not to decide whether the novel belongs to the fantastic as a genre, but to examine the reasons why it is used. A close analysis shows that it is often in relation to the past of Martinique that the supernatural appears. Thanks to the theory of the fantastic, we find three possible explanations of this fact. Firstly, the supernatural is juxtaposed to the real in order to reveal its limits and its “constructedness”. Martinican past thus appears as a French construction. Secondly, the fantastic can be used to reveal the absence of genuine Martinican history. Finally, the fantastic can be a reminder of a terrible event from the past. In conclusion it can be said that Chamoiseau uses the fantastic in order to write the history of an event that he sees as the origin of Martinique: slavery. By doing this he contributes to the fantastic as well, by showing that it is not necessarily gratuitous and by providing a good example of original and innovative use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Språk- och litteraturvetenskapligt centrum, Lunds universitet , 2008. , 235 p.
, Études romanes de Lund, ISSN 0347-0822 ; 82
Keyword [en]
métalepse, metalepsis, postcolonialism, magical realism, the fantastic, Chamoiseau, History, Historiography, fiction, uncanny
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Humanities, French literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-28662ISBN: 978-91-628-7472-8OAI: diva2:645483
Public defence
2008-05-23, Lund, 14:33 (French)
Available from: 2013-09-16 Created: 2013-09-04 Last updated: 2016-05-13Bibliographically approved

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