Espaces identitaires à l’épreuve – l’ « œil du voyageur » dans le roman Tout‐monde d’Édouard Glissant


Abstract: Approaching Éduard Glissant’s Tout‐monde (Whole World), a novel of exile and drifting, this study proposes an inventory of the various ways in which, throughout his many exploits, the traveller in the book perceives, ‘interprets’ and interacts with an unfamiliar society that, willingly or not, he encounters or comes to live in. In our view, this contact between different identities and their ‘intermingling’ (which, like a palimpsest, brings dissimilarities together without altering any of them) suggests that, by never ceasing to create spaces one can only define (at first) as ‘in‐between’ areas, the whole World realizes its vast, unknown potential, thus tirelessly regenerating itself. There is nothing more ‘narratable’ and picturesque, and, at the same time, more dramatic and more lyrical than these modern Metamorphoses, easily admissible within the comprehensive novelistic genre. Only, as we tried to argue here, this particular novel also contains a ‘theory’: it is a ‘philosophy’ (or a ‘poetics’) thoroughly applied in Tout‐monde, before being explicitly articulated in several influential essays written by the French‐Caribbean author.

Keywords: Tout‐monde, traveller, space of identity, exile