The Writing of Disaster: Renegotiating Haitian Space in Laferrière's Tout bouge autour de moi
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Shortly after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince in 2010, Dany Laferrière published a fragmented account of the devastating event, Tout bouge autour de moi. This is an urgent book that comes out as a direct response to the catastrophe. But as much as it is a form of response the text is haunted by the question of knowing how writing can face disaster. More importantly it raises the question of the position of the exiled author who is suddenly implicated in a crucial moment of the country he has left. This presentation explores how Laferrière's narrative subject, who is at once a foreigner and a native, positions himself both as a witness with a certain degree of distance towards the events that unfold before his eyes, and as an engaged survivor of the catastrophe. The point is to show how the transcultural experiences of the exiled author play into the reconstruction of an Haitian space within the narrative of destruction. Drawing from Blanchot's theories, I argue that by means of an intricate negotiation between belonging and estrangement Laferrière reinvents the writing of disaster. Lafferière explodes the boundaries of Blanchot's literary space as he is writing in a disastrous situation. In his fragmented prose, the ruins of writing and the ruins of Port-au-Prince together form a point of entanglement, mixing home and elsewhere, a violent past, an even more terrible present, and a possible future where Haiti is no longer a state of exception.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Transcultural disaster Haiti Laferrière Blanchot witness account
Research subject Literature; Romance Languages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-224007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-224007DiVA: diva2:714739
Transcultural Identity Construction in a Changing World