The Literatures of the French Pacific

Reconfiguring Hybridity

Raylene Ramsay

£75.00
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ISBN: 9781781380376

Publication: March 31, 2014

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 32

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Hybridity theory, the creative dissemination and restless to-and-fro of Homi Bhabha’s Third Space or of Stuart Hall’s politics of difference, for example, has opened up understandings of what may be produced in the spaces of cultural contact. This book argues that the particularity of the forms of mixing in the literatures of the French Pacific country of New Caledonia contest and complexify the characterisations of hybrid cultural exchange. From the accounts of European discovery by the first explorers and translations of the stories of oral tradition, to the writings of settler, déporté, convict, indentured labourer and their descendants, and contemporary indigenous (Kanak) literatures, these texts inscribe Oceanian or Pacific difference within and against colonial contexts. In a context of present strategic positioning around a unique postcolonial proposal of common destiny, however, mutual cultural transformation is not unbounded. The local cannot escape coexistence with the global, yet Oceanian literatures maintain and foreground a powerful sense of ancestral origins, of an original engendering. The spiral going forward continually remembers and cycles back distinctively to an enduring core. In their turn, the Pacific stories of unjust deportation or heroic settlement are founded on exile and loss. On the other hand, both the desire for, and fears of, cultural return reflected in such hybrid literary figures as Déwé Gorodé’s graveyard of ancestral canoes and Pierre Gope’s chefferie internally corrupted in response to the solicitations of Western commodity culture, or Claudine Jacques’ lizard of irrational violence, will need to be addressed in any working out of a common destiny for Kanaky-New Caledonia.

Professor Raylene Ramsay is Director of the French Pacific Research Centre at the University of Auckland and the editor of Nights of Storytelling: a Cultural History of Kanaky/New Caledonia (University of Hawaii Press, 2011).

Introduction and overview of chapter contents 1. Behind the accounts of first encounter and the tales of oral tradition: reading Kanak-New Caledonian texts as palimpsest Part 1: Behind the accounts of first encounter Appendix: Extracts from the texts of the early European explorers Part 2: Reading the role of gender through the texts of oral tradition 2. Writing (in) the languages of the other: translation as third space 3. Histories of exile and home: strategic hybridity 4. Locating the first man in the (hi)stories of Kanaky: indigenous hybridities 5. The paradoxical pathways of the first Kanak woman writer: Déwé Gorodé’s parti pris of indigeneity 6. The hybrid within: the first Kanak novel, 'L’épave' [the wreck] and the cannibal ogre 7. Cross-cultural readings of 'Le maitre de koné’ [the chief and the lizard]: intertextuality as hybridity 8. Writing métissage in non-Kanak literatures : from colonial to postcolonial hybridities 9. A multicultural future (destin commun) for New Caledonia ? From métissage to hybridities Conclusion: Modifying the hybridity debates Works cited Index

An excellent and much needed analysis / overview of New Caledonian literatures. It is extremely well-documented and extensive in its coverage of literature from the precursors to more contemporary authors. It covers multiple facets of hybridity through incorporating not only Kanak and Caldoche writing but also representations of other identities such as Metro, Vietnamese, Chinese or Wallisian.
Pascale De Souza  
George Mason University

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

288 Pages

ISBN: 9781781380376

Publication: March 31, 2014

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 32

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