Cunningham, Catriona J.
The reproduction of violence in the works of Patrick Chamoiseau and Raphaël Confiant.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis compares the reproduction of violence in the fictional writings of two contemporary Martinican authors, Patrick Chamoiseau and Raphaël Confiant. While existing scholarship provides significant examinations of both authors individually, this study builds on these foundations to carry out the first single extensive comparison of Chamoiseau and Confiant’s novels. Chamoiseau and Confiant’s literary and political movement of créolité has been the basis of much critical attention in recent years but the theme of the representation of violence in their novels remains relatively unexplored. This thesis explores how – and even whether – fiction can be a way of coming to terms with the brutal violence of their past. This study therefore examines – through close textual analysis – the literary strategies employed by the authors in their representation of the origins of the Antilles in order to address the painful, difficult issues arising out of these origins.
In its comparative approach to the authors and in its focus on the reproduction of violence, this study makes two original contributions to the study of Antillean literature. In the Introduction, I outline the tensions surrounding the process of writing in the Antilles. Within this specific historical context the figure of the writer – real or imaginary – becomes a complex and difficult one, as it is clear that the violence of the colonial past continues to affect the authors and their writing. In the first chapter, I therefore return to those same brutal origins of the Antilles, examining how they are constructed in the author’s fiction. Chamoiseau and Confiant imply that the violence of the past acts as a mechanism of oppression. Drawing on colonial theory, the next chapter explores closely how this mechanism is represented in the author’s fictional work as a repetition of the original violence and one that continues to structure Antillena society, and from which no escape seems possible.
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