A poetics of language-in-itself. It sanctions the moment when language, as if satisfied with its perfection, ceases to take for its object the recounting of its connection with particular surroundings, to concentrate solely upon its fervor to exceed its limits and reveal thoroughly the elements composing it—solely upon its engineering skills with these. This practice does not proceed without rambling, because rambling—as Mallarmé well knew—is an absolute challenge to narrative. Rather than discovering or telling about the world, it is a matter of producing an equivalent, which would be the Book, in which everything would be said, without anything’s being reported. Mallarmé, who experienced, of course, the temptations of elsewhere, spent his energy solely on producing this totality of language. The world as book, the Book as world. His heroism within confinement is a way of celebrating a desired, dreamt-of totality within the absolute world.

Édouard Glissant
Bryce Wilner
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Édouard Glissant, “Poetics,” Poetics of Relation [1990], trans. Betsy Wing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010), p. 25.

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