The news came this morning to the shocking of all. Édouard Glissant, one of most revered Martinique writers and philosophers has died. He was 83. In a statement, Francois Fillon France Prime Minister, paid homage to Glissant’s work, which “marked several generations of thinkers and writers far beyond” his native French Caribbean island. Le Monde newspaper said Glissant died Thursday in Paris.
Born in Sainte-Marie, Martinique, on Sept. 21, 1928, Glissant grew up in the négritude era and was well intellectually coiffed by it. He was one of the Carribean poets who reached stardom in the 1950s. Glissant was from the same literary school of Aimé Césaire. Glissant was a prolific writer, who published more than 20 books during his tenure, including collections of poetry and critical analyses.
He studied at the Lycée Schoelcher, named after the abolitionist Victor Schoelder, the same school where Aimé Césaire had studied and to which he returned as a teacher. It was there that Césaire met Léon Damas, and they would both later meet in Paris with Léopold Senghor, a poet and the future first president of Senegal, to found the négritude movement. Frantz Fanon, another great Martinique thinker, studied in that school.
Glissant left Martinique in 1946 for Paris, where he received his PhD, having studied ethnography at the Musee de l’Homme and History and philosophy at the Sorbonne. He established, with Paul Niger, the separatist Front Antillo-Guyanais pour l’Autonomie party in 1959, as a result of which Charles de Gaulle barred him from leaving France between 1961 and 1965. He returned to Martinique in 1965 and founded the Institut martiniquais d’études, as well as Acoma, a social sciences publication.
A distinguished scholar, Glissant was a professor at both Louisiana State University and at the City University of New York. In January 2006, Édouard Glissant was asked by Jacques Chirac to take on the presidency of a new cultural centre devoted to the history of slave trade.
In the Caribbean Creolophone debate, Glissant was a major pillar.
Glissant was the subject of an in-depth analysis by Dr. Ardain Isma on this Caribbean Creolization issue. Follow this link to read it.
Click here: Caribbean Creolophone Dilemma