May 13–15, 2011

Lifelines: Édouard Glissant

Readings, Discussions, Concerts

Edouard Glissant passed away in Paris on 3 February 2011 at the age of 82. We deeply regret his loss.

The corresponding edition of LifeLines was thus cancelled.

Édouard Glissant was regarded as one of the most important writers from the Francophone Caribbean and a leading intellectual light in post-colonial issues and matters of cultural theory. In the 1980s, his theses on creolization, diversity and difference played a crucial role in raising interest in multiculturalism, the politics of identity and “minority” literature.The works of this thinker, probably the most important contemporary intellectual – comprising poems, novels and philosophical essays – refuse to be pigeon-holed. They “combine philosophy and poetry in their most profound and purest form”, as the philosopher Gilles Deleuze put it.

The LifeLines: Édouard Glissant series of events also dovetails with the festival Wassermusik 2011, which takes place shortly afterwards, in July: Glissant, who was born in Martinique in 1928, and continued to live there, as well as in Paris and New York, had repeatedly made water a central theme of his works. He was also editor of the book series Peuples de l'eau (“Peoples of the Water”), a compilation of the literary products of twelve voyages on board the three-masted schooner “La Boudeuse” to find peoples who are accessible by water only, because they live on remote islands, river banks or coastlines. During LifeLines: Édouard Glissant, the writer/editor Glissant was meant to enter into dialogue with several of the authors of Peuples de l'eau, after they have read from their respective works.

Though well-received in German-language Francophone literature and cultural studies, Glissant’s works have yet to get the attention they deserve amongs the fields of cultural theory, philosophy and globalization theory, the arts or the broader public. This edition of LifeLines aimed to change that: while Glissant reads from his work and holds debates with unusual partners in new constellations, some of his contemporaries, key figures in his career and scholars of Glissant’s thinking will discuss selected, essential aspects of his work in greater detail.

Édouard Glissant, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Patrick Chamoiseau, Michel Serres, Manthia Diawara, Avital Ronell, Joachim Sartorius, Peter Sloterdijk, among others, as well as concerts and a scenic reading.

In cooperation with: Wunderhorn Verlag