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April 28 Seminar: Nadege Veldwachter

There is one paper to read for the seminar. The large version is in French, and the smaller version is a partial translation to English.

Translating the Caribbean: From Local to National and Global

Nadege Veldwachter, April 2005

 

One might say that there are two basic ways of approaching literary studies: first, we can look at texts as discursive formations, metaphors that need to be subjected to rhetorical analysis and second, we can look at language and literature as concrete material realities with a market value.  In the last two years of research and writing, I have become particularly intrigued by literary texts and essays that make the reader more aware of the power relations that inform the presentation and reception of Francophone Caribbean literature. This literature is simultaneously imbricated in the ‘national’ culture of France and in the process of globalization, through translation into English. The question that begs to be answered is the following: how does the francophone Caribbean book become an object the purpose of which is to represent the voices of a creole-speaking and French-speaking consciousness on an international scene?

This dissertation examines both the literary and social aspects of the book by analyzing the conditions under which Caribbean writers are published, translated and read in France and the United States. These issues are addressed in a two-pronged approach by weaving together the sociology of publishing and cultural theories of representation. I look at how texts from Guadeloupe and Martinique are commodified and made to perform as cultural markers inscribed in specific economic and social configurations. I also investigate the role that institutional spaces, such as universities and publishing houses, play in negotiating literary meaning.

 

 

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