Édouard Glissant, Philosopher

Heraclitus and Hegel in the Whole-World

By Alexandre Leupin
Translated by Andrew Brown

Subjects: Philosophy, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies, Literature, History
Paperback : 9781438483269, 330 pages, April 2021
Hardcover : 9781438483252, 330 pages, April 2021

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Table of contents

Translator's Note

1. "The immense foliage of a Louisiana oak, like a flattened palaver tree"

2. "Repetition is not an unnecessary duplication"

3. "I do not reject, I establish correlation"

4. "This need to go beyond one's own subjectivity"

5. "Everything is in everything"

6. "Universality has no language"

7. "Bounds, breaks and sudden leaps"

8. "Only the poets"

9. "The beauty of beauty"

10. "The dispute, one of the safest and oldest reinforcements of thought"

11. "We do not name Relation"

12. "Now there are only beings"

13. "The slave is the one who does not know, but who desires with all his strength to know"

14. "I change things, through exchanging with the other, and yet without destroying or distorting myself "

15. "And so we bring down (as if literally) the letter of the world"

16. "Imagine a thousand birds taking flight over an African lake"

17. "The continuity of the living is a spiral that does not fear to be interrupted"

18. "Yes, yes, everything is alive"


Translation of Alexandre Leupin’s award-winning study of Édouard Glissant’s entire work in relation to philosophy.


One of the greatest writers of the late twentieth century, Édouard Glissant's body of work covers multiple genres and addresses many cogent contemporary problems, such as borders, multiculturalism, postcolonial and decolonial studies, and global humanities. Édouard Glissant, Philosopher is the first study that maps out this writer's entire work in relation to philosophy. Glissant is reputed to be a "difficult writer;" however, Alexandre Leupin demonstrates the clarity and coherence of his thinking. Glissant's rereading of Western philosophy entirely remaps its age-old questions and offers answers that have never been proposed. In doing so, Glissant offers a new way to think about questions that are at the forefront of Global Humanities today: identity, race, communities, diasporas, slavery, nation-states and nationalism, aesthetics, ethics, and the place and function of poetry and art in a globalized world. This book will elucidate Glissant's theoretical writings, not only in England and in America but also in the anglophone Caribbean, Africa, and India.

Alexandre Leupin is Professor Emeritus in French Studies at Louisiana State University. He is the Founder and Codirector (with Charles Forsdick) of the Glissant Translation Project, which has already published three translations, among them The Baton Rouge Interviews, coauthored by Glissant and Leupin. Andrew Brown previously taught French at the University of Cambridge and is currently a freelance translator of French philosophy and social thought, including works on or by Sartre, Barthes, and Derrida. His books include A Brief History of Biographies: From Plutarch to Celebs.


"Alexandre Leupin's beautifully composed book shows us the subtle and extraordinary range of Édouard Glissant's thought that restlessly travels across disciplines and speaks on many levels: aesthetics, ethics, poetics, politics, community, culture, identity, place, race, literature, language, philosophy, history." — Culture and Dialogue

"Philosopher, poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, and political activist, Glissant (1928–2011) was one of the greatest thinkers of the last century and a difficult writer. As such, he deserves this comprehensive, illuminating analysis written by his friend Alexandre Leupin … There could be no better guide to Glissant's theoretical writings than Leupin." — CHOICE

"This translation promises to broaden critical attention to Glissant's work, responding to the demands of a rapidly expanding English-language readership of his oeuvre." — L'Esprit Créateur