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Title: Division and fragmentation in the work of three Guadeloupean novelists : Michèle Lacrosil, Jacqueline Manicom and Simone Schwarz-Bart
Author: Liley, Vivienne
Awarding Body: Queen Mary and Westfield College
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 1993
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Division and fragmentation characterize five novels by the Guadeloupean women; Michèle Lacrosil (1915- ), Jacqueline Manicom (1938-1976) and Simone Schwarz-Bart (1938- ). But when these novels are considered in the light of various psychoanalytic, feminist and post-colonial theories, a narrative strategy emerges from the fragmentation, offering an antidote to disintegration at personal and communal levels. Examination of the rich heritage of Guadeloupe, astride a crossroads where a multitude of influences converge, reveals some of the conundrums which make this area of study so exciting. The psychic damage and distorted self-image of the individual in Lacrosil's first novels become metaphors for a pervasive 'illness' to which Guadeloupean society may be prone as a result of the colonial encounter. Division, dislocation and the Sartrean self-other relation also characterize Lacrosil's third novel, but here I focus principally upon the reworking of a collective interpretation of history. Manicom's second novel is also characterized by fragmentation or dismembering, the instability of the male-female relationship, and by female subjectivity as the reflection of another's desire. But in this process of re-membering, a space apart is glimpsed in which resistance may be developed. Development of this 'space apart' is a strength in Schwarz-Bart's writing. The metaphor of the 'Bridge of Beyond' offers access to the rich sources upon which she draws. Suggesting that Schwarz-Bart's concern is with processes of personal and social change, I discuss how she shows the necessity of altering the categories in terms of which Guadeloupean society is envisioned. The metaphor of yeux fertiles, a reciprocal, affirming gaze, opens up the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter, oral (Creole) story-telling and written (French) narration, and between Guadeloupe and France. Schwarz-Bart's second novel breaks the silence into which Creole culture has been cast. Providing a form of mythical history, it bridges the rupture of slavery and imperialism, resolving tensions in both the collective and the individual unconscious between desire and its restriction. Development of narrative strategies takes Schwarz-Bart beyond the limitations of the closed, and self-pitying patterns which dominate Lacrosil's and Manicom's novels. Her achievement lies in her recuperation of Guadeloupe's autonomous resources and her reconstitution of the fragmented subject in vital interactions with an authentic cultural community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available