Milan Kundera's claims In L'Art du roman (1986) that the European novel subsumes the American novel are implicitly contradicted by Édouard Glissant's study of `le roman des Amériques' in Le Discours antillais (1981). In Les Testaments trahis (1993), although Kundera relativizes the European novel with reference to the `novel of the South' (exemplified by Chamoiseau and Rushdie), his view of the latter still shows no awareness of Glissant's connection of a poetics of Caribbean and Alter-American `self-recovery' with a perspective on world-wide cultural diversity and relationality. If Kundera's theorization of the (globalized) European novel is vitiated by its ignorance of the critical ground covered by Caribbean thinkers, equally the manifesto in favour of `une littérature-monde' –surprisingly signed by Glissant (Le Monde, 2007) – also distorts the complex interconnections of European and non-European writing. These connection failures illustrate both a short-circuit in the (supposedly) global transmission of critical thought, and an inadequate understanding of the notion of the `world' when conjugated with the term `literature'.
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Mary Gallagher; Connection Failures: Discourse on Contemporary European and Caribbean Writing in French. Small Axe 1 November 2010; 14 (3 (33)): 21–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-2010-019
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