World Literature and the Postcolonial:
Ngugi’s Globalectics and Glissant’s Poetics
Duncan McEachern Yoon
Both grounded in historical fact, yet committed to a perpetual disaggregation and reconstruction, a postcolonial self-reflexivity cultivates a basic optimism in a world of ever-increasing interaction and exchange. If, “the postcolonial is the closest to that Goethian and Marxian conception of world literature,” then the poetics produced through the confluence languages and opacities allows us to imagine, however briefly, the world in its totality (Ngugi 49). Ngugi’s globalectics is based on such a poetics and, as Glissant states, “its absence or its negation would constitute a failing” (Glissant 154). As such, if the postcolonial is a way to understand the “world” in world literature, then the act of reading and translation becomes an ethic with ramifications that extend far beyond the cultural realm.
1. Ngũgĩ, wa T. Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Print.
2. Glissant, Édouard, and Betsy Wing. Poetics of Relation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997. Print.
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