The spectral stage of édouard glissant's monsieur toussaint

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Abstract

This article offers a reappraisal of Monsieur Toussaint, a play about the final days of the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture by the Martinican writer and theorist Édouard Glissant. Written between 1959 and 1961, when Glissant was forced to remain in France due to his political activities, Monsieur Toussaint was not performed until 1977 and, by the author's own account, "was not crafted according to the economy of theatrical representation." Rather than taking the later version scénique [scenic version] as the definitive version (as critics and translators invariably do), I consider the non-performance of the original play as integral to its commentary on the Haitian Revolution and to what Glissant calls the Antilles's "non-history." Ultimately, I show how, when faced with an impasse in the movement for decolonization, Glissant circumvents the here and now of "live" performance in order to create what he calls a "prophetic vision of the past" - a spectral stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-525
Number of pages25
JournalModern Drama
Volume61
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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