Amironner: Notes on worlding the local

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

How can an untranslatable text be read as world literature? Gaston Miron's only published collection of poetry, L'homme rapaillé, is of course a national, and even nationalist, work. While limited translations exist, their failure is inevitable to the extent that Miron's language, beyond its fragmented syntax and play with prosody, abounds with neologisms and elements drawn from deep within the Québécois lexicon. In fact, the text is, in a sense, against translation as much in its form as in its content. Furthermore, one might expect that the collection's overt political engagement and rootedness in the specific experiences and events of the Quiet Revolution would circumscribe the possibility of an extended readership. However, within the francophone world at least, L'homme rapaillé's circulation and influence has far exceeded the borders of Quebec, in large part because its militancy and aesthetics eschew both provincialism and any facile conception of the universal. This article examines how the poetic construction of the "Québécanthrope," precisely because of its concern for the local and the intimate, and its simultaneous lyrical dialogue with key figures of decolonization (Césaire, Depestre, Memmi, and Fanon, among others), becomes a gesture of worlding. The article argues for reading Miron as a theorist and practitioner of world literature, viewing Quebec through the lens of relation. I draw on the work of Emily Apter, Vilashini Cooppan, and Jacques Derrida to unpack the implications of Miron's articulation of the local word and the world, focusing on his signed hapax, "amironner".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-554
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Canadian Studies
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • Aimé Césaire
  • Frantz Fanon
  • Gaston Miron
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Untranslatable
  • World literature

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