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Editorial

Introduction (English version)

Florence Labaune-Demeule

Texte intégral

  • 1 Julien Duval, « Censure », in Universalis éducation [en ligne]. Encyclopædia Universalis, Accessed (...)
  • 2 “[La censure] trouve son origine dans une institution de la République romaine, celle des censeurs, (...)

1In the “Censorship” entry published in the Encyclopédie Universalis, Julien Duval explains how complex the term is, since it refers to “the act of condemning a text or an opinion, of banning the possibility of publishing or publicizing it, just as it may refer to the institution pronouncing such a ban.”1 In the days of the Roman Republic, he says, the two censors were magistrates in charge of people’s census, i.e. they assessed the numbers of citizens, their wealth, etc., and they were to exclude from society those persons whose behaviour did not abide by the moral standards required. He also adds that, from the Middle Ages onwards, the term “censorship” was used to describe any official institution aiming at banning the whole of, or parts of books, writings, or even performances, etc. Such an institution would issue a special authorization and could demand that a text be amended or even suppressed. This could affect the political, religious or cultural spheres.2

  • 3 André Lalande, Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, Paris, PUF, coll. Quadrige, [19 (...)

2Although such forms of acute censorship tend to have been less present in Europe since the nineteenth century following revolutionary impulses in France and the US notably, or issues related to Human Rights, he observes that contemporary manifestations of censorship can still be witnessed, notably in countries ruled by authoritative powers, and he explains that the term “censorship” can also be used in a much broader or more metaphorical sense. For him, in modern times, it is often associated with a desire to preserve certain forms of morality. Censorship therefore may refer to the functions and roles of censors, but also to the functions and roles of institutions (be they a form of religious, political, state or economic censorship, among others). It may also relate to different repressive means used to dissuade people from adopting “condemnable” positions. The moral impulse behind the censors’ actions can also rely on a desire to reform, to bring people back on the right track, censorship being in that case synonymous with punishment, either by imposing authority in an implicit and silent way, or by using coercive means –violence and imprisonment. Moreover, censorship can be defined as a psycho-analytical act, as Freud uses this term to designate the psychic function which bars the spontaneous and sincere manifestations of repressed desires or mental images, which are expressed through deficiencies, disguises or symbolic transformations in the corresponding conscious facts, as André Lalande explains in his Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie.3

3Frantz Fanon’ position is also very close to that meaning of the term when he explains that, in colonial and postcolonial times, black people were perceived –both in a self-reflexive and in a reciprocal way– as objects rather than as subjects, that their identities were displaced in such a way that they could not see themselves as they were but as they should have been if abiding by colonial values. Echoing Fanon’s theory, John McLeod comments on the images of amputation or on the military semantic field often associated with this kind of censorship by Fanon:

  • 4 John McLeod, Beginning Postcolonialism, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. 20-21.

The violence of this ‘revision’ of his identity is conveyed powerfully in the image of amputation. Fanon feels abbreviated, violated, imprisoned by a way of seeing that denies him the right to define his own identity as a subject. [...] That imaginative distinction that differentiates between ‘man’ (self) with ‘black man’ (other) is an important, devastating part of the armoury of colonial domination, one that imprisons the mind as securely as chains imprison the body...4

  • 5 “Parmi les censures les plus radicales, les plus sûres et les mieux cachées, il y a celles qui excl (...)
  • 6 “La disposition qui porte à « se surveiller », à se « corriger », à rechercher la « correction » (...)

4Such metaphors borrowed from the medical or military fields (referring to amputation or rape on the one hand, and to armoury, imprisonment or chains, on the other hand) are no more than visual representations of censorship. To the more open or explicit kinds of institutional censorship can indeed be added more insidious or implicit ones, which sometimes take the form of self-censorship. The latter expresses the limits imposed by an individual on himself, which prevent him from expressing what he believes, or even from daring to think about certain issues. Censorship can, in such cases, pervade someone’s daily life insidiously, notably in societies which are not otherwise submitted to explicit forms of censorship. This idea was also expressed by Pierre Bourdieu (and other thinkers), who identified the processes at work in any usual communication act as such. Indeed, Bourdieu insisted on the fact that censorship referred both to institutional forms of control and to any kind of individual discourse which in its turn represents transactions, or compromises, between what the speaker intends to say to his addressee and what the addressee himself is ready to, or simply can, understand. Indeed, for Bourdieu, the communication pattern is based on legitimacy and on the necessity felt by individuals to control their discourse (hence frequent or constant situations of self-censorship) in order to abide by the rules of the social group the individual belongs to or to abide by the rules of the field (champ) the individual evolves in.5 The interaction between the rules incorporated by the individual and the ones defining the field affects the communication process. This results in an unconscious form of censorship in the speaker’s discourse in order to limit any marked deviance from established social rules.6

  • 7 Ania Loomba, Colonialism/Poscolonialism, Second Edition, London & New York, Routledge, The New Crit (...)
  • 8 Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back, p. 84.

5If censorship did not always take the shape of the concrete banning of texts in the imperial or colonial period, it nevertheless often led to the adoption of insidious positions or strategies, to some forms of silencing, to denying the other’s discourse in many ways, and therefore to self-censorship too. Ania Loomba raises this question in Colonialism/Postcolonialism in a direct way: “To what extent did colonial power succeed in silencing the colonised ?”, and Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin also point at this when they mention the impact of colonialism over colonized peoples: “The silencing and marginalizing of the post-colonial voice by the imperial centre; the abrogation of this imperial centre within the text; and the active appropriation of the language and culture of that centre.”7 Indeed these theorists show that censorship institutionalizes silence when “the state gags the voice of the individual”.8 Illustrating this through references to South African censorship, they write:

  • 9 Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back, p. 84.

This silence is literally and dramatically revealed in the censorship exercised by the government over newspapers, journals, and much creative writing. It has two aspects: there is the literal silencing which will not permit the freedom necessary to appropriate language, and there is the further silence which necessarily precedes the act of appropriation. […]9

6In fact relying on discourse, hence actualizing language through speech, proves essential: colonized people, who were first silenced, also have to face the domination insidiously present in their use of language. For most postcolonial writers, the latter remains the colonizer’s tongue. It marks their belonging to colonial peripheries because it cannot spontaneously represent and express the truth of an experience in a place where another (local) language could have proved more adequate. They will have to get hold of the dominating language and to give it another new, “de-centred” meaning to inscribe their existence in the world (and express their world view) through a discourse which can finally be heard by others and becomes meaningful:

  • 10 Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back, p. 91.

If language constructs the world then the margins are the centre and may reconstruct it according to a different pattern of conventions, expectations, and experiences.10

7Postcolonial literatures have always aimed at moving beyond constraints – notably those imposed by imperialism –, to oppose colonialism and to fight against it by undermining colonial clichés and prejudices. Some concepts do assert colonial domination, and among them one can mention that of the imperial centre ruling over colonial peripheries, that of Britain’s civilizing mission, or the concept of Orientalism as a mental construct which was denounced so fiercely by Edward Said.

8Elleke Boehmer gives a very apt definition of the role of postcolonial literature:

  • 11 Elleke Boehmer, Colonial & Postcolonial Literature, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 199 (...)

Rather than simply being the writing which ‘came after’ empire, postcolonial literature is that which  critically scrutinizes the colonial relationship. It is writing that  sets out in one way or another to resist colonialist perspectives. As well as a change  in power, decolonization demanded symbolic overhaul, a reshaping of dominant meanings. Postcolonial  literature formed part of this process of overhaul.11

9Postcolonial literature is then to be perceived as both a literature of resistance and of opposition, and as a literature based on reviewing and overhauling since it modifies the dominant perspective.

  • 12 Justin D. Edwards, Postcolonial Literature. A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism, Basingstoke & (...)

10Domination, therefore, can be established through what Justin D. Edwards calls “the mastery of the gun” but also through what he calls “the mastery of discourse”, which he defines as “the manipulation of language and thought [that] becomes a form of control that empowers the colonizer and subjugates the native.”12

11Studying the mechanisms at work when one wants to keep silent or to silence someone turns out to be essential in order to unveil the domination and inferiorization processes that Subaltern Studies have highlighted by following the concept of subalternity defined by Ranajit Guha and developed by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in her essay “Can the Subaltern Speak ?”. 

12Discourse and the control of discourse are indeed always central in censorship strategies and, according to Spivak, they manifest a form of epistemic violence in the very fact of silencing people. Justin D. Edwards also clearly explains that the absence of any recognition of a speech-act by the addressee of a message does not only express a refusal to engage in a communication act, but that it also denies the addresser’s existence:

  • 13 Edwards, Postcolonial Literature, p. 66.

Epistemic violence arises when those people who hold power begin to silence a less powerful group. It thus points to the interplay between the pre-colonial and colonial structures of dominant discourses that erase the space from which the subaltern can speak. […] Often, the subaltern makes an attempt at self-representation, yet this act of representation is not heard. The hegemonic listener does not recognize it, because it does not fit into the official institutional structures of representation. […] [W]ithin the very definition of subalternity there is an implicit not-being-able-to-make-speech-acts, for if the subaltern could speak she would no longer be a subaltern.13

13Conversely, being able to speak and to be heard by others asserts one’s existence and identity. Therefore, it is by accepting to listen to postcolonial discourse that the voices and identities rising from the peripheries can truly exist.

  • 14 “[…] the main goal of this article is to show how issues of censorship, in particular their cultura (...)

14Lorenzo Mari also wonders why no real definition of “postcolonial censorship” has been put forward and he observes that if allegory is the “dominant rhetorical mode of censorship”, its usage in a postcolonial context has more specific outreach:14

  • 15 Mari, “‘A War Between Buffoons’? Censorship and Self-Censorship in Postcolonial Literature”.

The nexus of allegory and history turns out to be different in Western literature, where allegories are concerned either ‘with redeeming or recuperating the past’, and in postcolonial literature, where allegories specifically intend to transform ‘the imperial myth of history’ (1988: 158). By restoring those histories which were systematically denied and/or omitted within colonial narratives, postcolonial literature struggles against the silence imposed on the colonized populations as a peculiar form of colonial censorship (Chin: 2009). At the same time, the transformation of history which is inherent to postcolonial literature is based on a series of elements which are inevitably marked as ‘new’ and ‘other’. This leads to a case for ‘paradoxical doubleness or ambivalence’, as postcolonial literature is ‘already constituted within institutional and generic constraints whose work it is to package and displace the counter-discursive force [...] under a sign of secondariness, derivation, simulacrum, or mimicry’ (Slemon 1989: 100).15

15By reformulating silenced (hi)stories – whether these were silenced voluntarily or involuntarily – postcolonial literature tries to fight against all forms of imposed silence, be it through the domination and inferiorization processes established by colonialism or through any form of censorship.

16However, postcolonial literature often has to raise its voice more loudly and more officially against institutional censorship and it is the postcolonial writer’s role to fight against it in order to impose his individual and collective freedom of speech to do so when he is compelled by circumstances. No other place but South Africa has ever been more submitted to institutional censorship during Apartheid and reading Nadine Gordimer’s essays, for instance, is a good means of becoming aware of the motivations and implicit workings of the fight against state censorship.

  • 16 Three of Gordimer’s novels were banned when they were published in South Africa: A World of Strange (...)

17In an essay entitled “Censorship – The Final Solution. The Case of Salman Rushdie”, published in 1989, Nadine Gordimer, who was herself the victim of the South African censorship system when three of her books were published, writes of the excessively violent demonstrations and riots that usually accompany the decisions to ban books.16 For her, the climax of such an expression of hatred and violence was reached when Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses were published. She condemns such a decision to censor Rushdie’s book as “barbarism”:

  • 17 Nadine Gordimer, “Censorship – The Final Solution. The Case of Salman Rushdie”, 1989, Telling Times (...)

Riots,  book-burning, the demand that a work shall be  banned worldwide, publishers  boycotted,  the threatened  toppling of  a prime minister, five dead – has ever a book been the pretext for such a frenzy of righteous barbarism?17

  • 18 Gordimer, “Censorship – The Final Solution. The Case of Salman Rushdie”, p. 448.
  • 19 Nadine Gordimer, The Essential Gesture. Writing, Politics and Places. London: Cape, Ed. Stephen Cli (...)
  • 20 Gordimer, The Essential Gesture, p. 420.

18If the riots, book-burnings, bans, boycotts and other manifestations such as the fatwa decreed against Salman Rushdie are expressions of violent reactions by the censors and sometimes by mere citizens who can in that way pour out all their vile passions against an opponent, Nadine Gordimer recognizes in it the “unchanging principle of censorship, which was and is and always will be to harness the world to the tyrants’ chariot. The tyrant may be a dictator, a regime, moral or religious bigotry.”18 For her, the main motivation relies on a wish to limit freedom of speech: censorship aims at making people keep silent voluntarily and at silencing them more authoritatively if necessary. Now, according to Gordimer, the writer endorses the responsibility to define himself as a social being, that is to say as the member of a specific community or society. He therefore becomes torn between two extremes – that of the oppressed who consider him as the spokesperson of their own sufferings, and that of the state which sometimes punishes him through censorship.19 Should the writer favour the first pole, for instance through political activism, he would then be led to subordinate his creativity to other people’s desires. Should he favour the second one, he would be led to censor himself. The true responsibility of the writer is to be found elsewhere: by following his creative impulse, the writer should express what he considers just, or true, whether this should please the community he belongs to, or not. He should above all adopt a position which would enable him to express his humanity: “Whether a writer is black or white, in South Africa the essential gesture by which he enters the brotherhood of man – which is the only definition of society that has any permanent validity – is a revolutionary gesture.”20

19As a result, what characterizes the writer’s essential gesture is his faculty to transform experience thanks to his personal creativity:

  • 21 Gordimer, The Essential Gesture, p. 422. She adds: “The writer is eternally in search of entelechy (...)

Writers who accept a professional responsibility in the transformation of society are always seeking ways of doing so that their societies could not ever imagine, let alone demand: asking of themselves means that will plunge like a drill to release the great primal spout of creativity, drench the censors, cleanse the statute books of their pornography of racist and sexist laws, hose down religious differences, extinguish napalm bombs and flame-throwers, wash away pollution from land, sea and air, and bring out human beings into the occasional summer fount of naked joy. […] It could also be admitted that this is all writers can do: for creativity comes from within, it cannot be produced by will or dictate if it is not there, although it can be crushed by dictate. […] The transformation of experience remains the writer’s basic essential gesture; the lifting out of a limited category something that reveals its full meaning and significance only when the writer’s imagination has expanded it.21

  • 22 Gordimer, The Essential Gesture, p. 424.

20Only if he is left free can the writer find his place in society without making concessions that will impinge upon his creative talent.22

  • 23 Gordimer, “Censorship and its Aftermath”, Telling Times. Writing and Living, 1954-2008, New York: W (...)

21One year later, following President de Klerk’s decision to unban the ANC and ease censorship restrictions, Gordimer wrote another essay entitled “Censorship and its Aftermath” in which she describes other modes of expression of censorship:23

  • 24 Gordimer, “Censorship and its Aftermath”, p. 463.

Political censorship has taken place of first importance since before the second half of our century. And it has been taken over, surely as never before, by the knuckle-duster imprisonment of writers and journalists, the banning of individual writers, the closure of newspapers, the prosecution of editors, the exclusion of television crews and journalists from the scenes of events – all under laws that make conventional censorship appear namby-pamby. Repressive regimes […] have maintained themselves with these laws that, at first appearing ancillary to censorship, ended by rendering it old hat, almost redundant.24

22In the same essay, Gordimer also explains that most writers working under “conventional censorship” tend to “[get] used to it, which means that they tried to [defy] censorship and/or found ways round it.” (Gordimer, 469). It does not signify that writers accept censorship because they are repeatedly threatened by it. On the contrary, by being omnipresent censorship obliges such writers to find new by-roads, new ways of circumventing it, to conceal their sparking creativity under other appearances, or even to find stylistic disguises and contrivances which make censorship restrictions bearable. Writers working in such conditions therefore develop new writing strategies in order to regain some kind of freedom of speech.

23However, in the same essay, Gordimer also explains that behind this creative impulse induced by censorship, the restrictions imposed on writers also leave their branding mark on the writers’ minds:

  • 25 Gordimer, “Censorship and its Aftermath”, p. 471.

While we rejoice at new freedom for writers in many countries long denied it, and work for freedom for writers in those countries where the many devices of censorship still prevail […], we must also remember that writers are never freed of the past. Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, for ever.25

24As a consequence, once censorship restrictions were eased in 1990 South Africa, Gordimer was aware that the dangers of “the aftermath of censorship” relied in the fact that writers might have to face “cramped and even distorted imagination” (Gordimer, p. 469), and that they might “have to open themselves to a new vocabulary of life” (Gordimer, p. 469), that is to say to new creative impulses, to new writing strategies – as can be illustrated by devices such as allegory, allusion or the more cryptic mode of poetic language, rather than the more straightforward strategies of the realistic novel, as many Black South African writers did during Apartheid.

  • 26 “For ‘real engagement’, for the writer, is not something set apart from the range of the creative i (...)
  • 27 Nadine Gordimer, “The Status of the Writer in the World Today” (1997), Telling Times. Writing and L (...)

25And if the imprint left by the fear of censorship on the writer’s imagination remains for ever present, the writer’s role nevertheless still relies, according to Gordimer, on commitment and responsibility.26 It is in this way only that the writer, being accountable to humanity in general and to his own society in particular, can be acutely aware of “the well-earned role of writer-as-writer in the post-colonial era”, which relies on both freedom of speech and freedom of creation.27

26This collection of essays published in Transtext(e)sTranscultures therefore aims at proposing various approaches to censorship in postcolonial contexts by adopting a transcultural and a transtextual perspective: through the different texts and documents studied, written either in French or in English by their authors, the reader will be offered the opportunity of making his own vision and understanding of the term “censorship” through the kaleidoscopic image formed here. To that purpose, this volume introduces censorship in postcolonial productions following a dual articulation: in a first part, it focuses on how postcolonial artists position themselves and react when confronted with various forms and manifestations of censorship, while in a second part, it concentrates more on the strategies and devices used by artists to try to circumvent censorship.

  • 28 “What memory traces are whispering to our ears”. My translation.
    See Charles Forsdick, “Between Cens (...)

27Various forms and manifestations of censorship, different ways of denouncing censorship are indeed described in the first four essays in this collection. First, Charles Forsdick’s essay “Between Censorship and Amnesia: The End of the Penal Colony in French Guiana” transports us to colonial French Guyana through an analysis of the workings of the penal colony that was established there and of the infamous bagne set up in Cayenne. By studying Leon Gontran Damas’s Retour de Guyane, and Albert Londres’s Au Bagne among other books, Forsdick highlights the colonial context of the prison and provides a critical reflection on the colonial penitentiary institution whose collapse announced the decline and fall of the French colonial empire. He then moves on to discussing more contemporary visions of the bagne, for instance through Chamoiseau and Hammadi’s photo-essay, Guyane: Traces-mémoires du bagne, in which they try to perceive what “les traces mémoires nous murmurent” in order to “challenge the censorship implicit in amnesia”.28

28Then, the second essay in this collection leads the reader to walk in Doris Lessing’s footsteps in colonial Southern Rhodesia. Hajer Elarem’s contribution, entitled “Doris Lessing, the ‘Prohibited Writer’ Railing against Hegemonic Discourse”, focuses on different aspects of censorship in Lessing’s first novel The Grass is Singing, and explains how this first book led to the writer’s being censored later on. After analyzing the extent to which the novel describes institutionalized censorship, the author focuses on the character of Mary Turner. Finally, the third part of the essay shows that the publication of Lessing’s first novel resulted in some censorship restrictions for the writer.

29As the title of Jacqueline Jondot’s essay shows (“Censorship and Self-Censorship: Street Artists in the January 2011 ‘Revolution’ in Egypt”), censorship was also part of the situation faced by Egyptian street-artists during, and after, the 2011 revolution in Cairo. The article reflects on the evolution which could be observed from such a situation, from freedom of expression to new forms of censorship imposed on them, and it focuses on how censorship and the fear of censorship shaped the artists’ counter-discourses. The numerous photographs which illustrate this demonstration, all taken by the author herself, underline the extent to which murals became a new medium of liberty for anonymous artists in troubled times.

30Then, Vanessa Lee’s essay (“Resisting Censorship: Suzanne Roussi-Césaire’s Literary and Political Activism”) draws the reader’s attention to the biography and position of a woman who often –and unduly– remained in the shadows of her husband’s popularity. As Aimé Césaire’s wife, Suzanne’s life and achievements were not granted sufficient attention, and Lee’s article reminds us that Suzanne Roussi-Césaire was a writer and activist herself and that she co-created the literary and cultural journal Tropiques, while contributing several essential articles about psychoanalysis, Caribbean identity, the Surrealist movement or even about such matters as exoticism. She also wrote plays, most of which are now lost. Vanessa Lee’s essay shows that Suzanne Roussi-Césaire should therefore hold a prominent place among francophone Caribbean female writers of the first half of the twentieth century.

31In the second part of this collection focus is placed more openly on the different strategies used by artists to circumvent censorship and to find unusual means of expression to assert their messages in more implicit ways. First, Guy Lavorel’s essay (“Literature, Languages and Cultures in Louisiana: Countering Censorship”) explores the particular situation faced by the literatures, languages and cultures of Louisiana and explains how censorship was countered in that vast area. After reminding us of the historical situation of Louisiana, the essay shows that the use of languages, and above all Cajun French, was the means of resisting the constraints imposed in Louisiana –Cajun French having persisted thanks to the creation of journals and newspapers as well as the publication of books. Music has also been a privileged medium of resistance to this day, thanks to jazz music, but also “zydeco” music for instance.

32Then, Florence Labaune-Demeule’s essay (“The Voice, the Radio and the Sermon. Censorship and Resistance in E. Danticat’s The Dew Breaker”) focuses on Edwidge Danticat’s 2004 novel The Dew Breaker, and more precisely on the eponymous final chapter written in the form of a short-story. The essay first analyses the use of discourse and of voices in the context of the Duvaliers’ dictatorships and the terror that was generated by the regime which had enforced censorship. Then it shows how the various forms of trauma experienced by some characters condemn both victims and torturers to silence or compel them to find deviant ways of expression, which the novel itself highlights by contributing a narrative discourse of revelation which overcomes the imposed silence by parodoxically relying on implicit discourse strategies.

33Then Patricia Donatien studies two Caribbean books by two different authors, one a francophone writer – Roland Brival –, the second an anglophone one, Olive Senior. Her essay (“Self-Censorship and De-Censorship in Roland Brival’s Nègre de personne and Olive Senior’s The Pain Tree”) illustrates the fact that both novels constitute spaces of freedom where specific narrative strategies are relied upon to express what would otherwise remain unsaid or inaudible. These writing specificities are also identified as forming a characteristically Caribbean literary aesthetic.

34Finally, Karine Chevalier analyses Nabile Farès’s narrative strategy in the face of censorship. Her article, entitled “Nabile Farès and Censorship: From Silenced Words to Visual Echoes”, shows how the writer fought many forms of censorship in post-independence Algeria. Practicing self-censorship, the writer uses an opaque writing style dominated by visual and typographical symbolism. Chevalier also shows that, in his later graphic novels illustrated by Kamel Khélif, Farès proposes a new approach to a form of dialogue where polyphonic voices create continuous echoes between the text and the drawings, between the writer and the cartoonist, who both illustrate, in their common visual and textual design and entreprise, how essential it is to be able to live and to create together, side by side, by being united through a common vision.

35To conclude, a second essay by Patricia Donatien (“Postcolonial and/or (De)colonial in France and the French Caribbean: Heuristic and Political Aims: Can the Subaltern Speak?”) will extend our approach to censorship in the colonial and postcolonial worlds to issues of decoloniality, by focusing on the consequences of censorship and by wondering whether the more recent concept of decoloniality might offer new perspectives. After defining the colonial and the postcolonial, this essay focuses on the various meanings attached to the term decolonial. According to Donatien, looking for the “delinking” process described by Walter Mignolo might finally turn out not to be the right solution for Caribbean researchers. The author of this essay shows that the role of Caribbean researchers today should be to propose new solutions to the problems that arose from colonization and that were addressed by offering a real decolonization of minds, by making formerly colonized people aware of the need to get rid of any mental frame relating to colonization, to drop any idea of subalternity, and to ask for reparation. She considers it essential to establish a real dialogue between formerly colonized people and the colonizing metropolis, a position which finally reminds us of Glissant’s concept of “Relation”.

36Finally, it seems important here to mention that the publication of this volume of essays was made possible thanks to the Institute for Transcultural and Transtextual Studies (University of Lyon, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3, EA 4186) and its Director, Pr. Gregory B. Lee. I do wish to thank him for trusting me in this entreprise.

37This publication would not have materialized without the help of the editorial team of the Transtext(e)s/Transcultures journal, notably Sophie Coavoux and Gwennaël Gaffric, whose investment I am well aware of.

38All my gratitude must also be addressed to the authors of the essays, for their intellectual insight and academic knowledge and their interest in the postcolonial field in all its diversity: Karine Chevalier, Patricia Donatien, Hajer Elarem, Charles Forsdick, Jacqueline Jondot, Guy Lavorel, and Vanessa Lee.

39I would also like to thank here all those who took part in this publication in one way or another.

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Notes

1 Julien Duval, « Censure », in Universalis éducation [en ligne]. Encyclopædia Universalis, Accessed 7 June 2017, http://www.universalis-edu.com.ezscd.univ-lyon3.fr/encyclopedie/censure/. My translation, as are all subsequent translations from French into English if not otherwise mentioned. Original quote: “l'action de condamner un texte ou une opinion, d'en interdire sa diffusion, et l'institution qui prononce cette condamnation.” 

2 “[La censure] trouve son origine dans une institution de la République romaine, celle des censeurs, deux magistrats chargés tous les cinq ans d'évaluer (en latin censere) le nombre des citoyens, de les répartir en classes en fonction de leur richesse, et d'exclure de ces listes les citoyens de ‘mauvaises mœurs’ ”.

3 André Lalande, Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, Paris, PUF, coll. Quadrige, [1926], 2010, p. 133.

4 John McLeod, Beginning Postcolonialism, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. 20-21.

5 “Parmi les censures les plus radicales, les plus sûres et les mieux cachées, il y a celles qui excluent certains individus de la communication. […] On ne parle pas au premier venu ; le premier venu ne ‘prend’ pas la parole. Le discours suppose un émetteur légitime s’adressant à un destinataire légitime, reconnu et reconnaissant.” (Pierre Bourdieu, “L’économie des échanges linguistiques”, In Langue française, n°34, 1977. Linguistique et sociolinguistique. pp. 17-34; doi : https://doi.org/10.3406/lfr.1977.4815, https://www.persee.fr/doc/lfr_0023-8368_1977_num_34_1_4815, Accessed 04/05/2018, p. 20.

6 “La disposition qui porte à « se surveiller », à se « corriger », à rechercher la « correction » par des corrections permanentes n'est pas autre chose que le produit de l'introjection d'une surveillance et de corrections qui inculquent sinon la connaissance, du moins la reconnaissance de la norme linguistique ; […] En se « surveillant », les dominés reconnaissent en pratique sinon la surveillance des dominants (bien qu'ils ne « se surveillent » jamais autant qu'en leur présence), du moins la légitimité de la langue dominante.” (Bourdieu, “L’économie des échanges linguistiques”, p. 26). For further information, see also Laurent Martin, “Censure répressive et censure structurale : comment penser la censure dans le processus de communication ?”, Questions de communication, [en ligne], 15, 2009, mis en ligne le 01 août 2011 . Accessed 27/08/2020, URL : http://journals.openedition.org/questionsdecommunication/461.

7 Ania Loomba, Colonialism/Poscolonialism, Second Edition, London & New York, Routledge, The New Critical Idiom, 2005, [First Edition, 1998], p. 192.
Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin,
The Empire Writes Back, London & New York, Routledge, 1989, p. 83.

8 Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back, p. 84.

9 Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back, p. 84.

10 Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back, p. 91.

11 Elleke Boehmer, Colonial & Postcolonial Literature, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 3.

12 Justin D. Edwards, Postcolonial Literature. A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism, Basingstoke & New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, p. 64.

13 Edwards, Postcolonial Literature, p. 66.

14 “[…] the main goal of this article is to show how issues of censorship, in particular their cultural and political implications rather than their impact in terms of textual philology – are crucial to at least one definition of postcolonial literature, considering allegory as its dominant rhetorical mode (Jameson 1986, Slemon 1988).” Lorenzo Mari, “‘A War Between Buffoons’? Censorship and Self-Censorship in Postcolonial Literature”, Censura e autocensura, Eds. A. Bibbò, S. Ercolino, M. Lino, Between, V.9 (2015), 2, http://www.betweenjournal.it/, accessed June 2017.

15 Mari, “‘A War Between Buffoons’? Censorship and Self-Censorship in Postcolonial Literature”.

16 Three of Gordimer’s novels were banned when they were published in South Africa: A World of Strangers (1958), The Late Bourgeois World (1966) and Burger’s Daughter (1979).

17 Nadine Gordimer, “Censorship – The Final Solution. The Case of Salman Rushdie”, 1989, Telling Times. Writing and Living, 1954-2008, New York: W.W. Norton & Comp, Inc., 2010, pp. 447-450, p. 447.

18 Gordimer, “Censorship – The Final Solution. The Case of Salman Rushdie”, p. 448.

19 Nadine Gordimer, The Essential Gesture. Writing, Politics and Places. London: Cape, Ed. Stephen Clingman. 1988, p. 410.

20 Gordimer, The Essential Gesture, p. 420.

21 Gordimer, The Essential Gesture, p. 422. She adds: “The writer is eternally in search of entelechy in his relation to his society. Everywhere in the world, he needs to be left alone and at the same time to have a vital connection with others; he needs artistic freedom and knows it cannot exist without its wider context; feels two presences within – creative self-absorption and conscionable awareness – and must resolve whether these are locked in death struggle , or are really foetuses in a twinship of fecundity.”, p. 424).

22 Gordimer, The Essential Gesture, p. 424.

23 Gordimer, “Censorship and its Aftermath”, Telling Times. Writing and Living, 1954-2008, New York: W.W. Norton & Comp, Inc., 2010, pp. 463-472.

24 Gordimer, “Censorship and its Aftermath”, p. 463.

25 Gordimer, “Censorship and its Aftermath”, p. 471.

26 “For ‘real engagement’, for the writer, is not something set apart from the range of the creative imagination at the dictate of his brothers and sisters in the cause he or she shares with them; it comes from within the writer, his or her creative destiny as an agency of culture, living in history.” Nadine Gordimer, “Turning the Page” (1992), Telling Times. Writing and Living, 1954-2008, New York: W.W. Norton & Comp, Inc., 2010, pp. 485-493, p. 488.

27 Nadine Gordimer, “The Status of the Writer in the World Today” (1997), Telling Times. Writing and Living, 1954-2008, New York: W.W. Norton & Comp, Inc., 2010, pp. 520-531, p. 525.

28 “What memory traces are whispering to our ears”. My translation.
See Charles Forsdick, “Between Censorship and Amnesia: The End of the Penal Colony in French Guiana”, final page.

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Florence Labaune-Demeule, « Introduction (English version) »Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨文化 [En ligne], 15 | 2020, mis en ligne le 14 décembre 2020, consulté le 27 janvier 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/transtexts/1492 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/transtexts.1492

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Auteur

Florence Labaune-Demeule

Florence Labaune-Demeule is Professor in English and Postcolonial Literatures at Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University, Lyon, France. Her research interests focus on Anglophone Caribbean and Indian literatures. She has written extensively on writers of Caribbean or Indian descent like V.S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Jean Rhys, Fred D’Aguiar, Edwidge Danticat, Jamaica Kincaid, Anita Desai, Anita Nair, Arundhati Roy, etc. She has also published a few books, among which a monograph about V.S. Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival (V.S. Naipaul. L’Énigme de l’arrivée. L’éducation d’un point de vue, 2007) and a few collections of essays.

Florence Labaune-Demeule est Agrégée et Professeur des Universités en anglais et en littératures postcoloniales à l’Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Lyon, France. Plus particulièrement spécialisée dans les littératures postcoloniales caribéennes et indiennes, elle a publié de nombreux articles sur des auteurs comme V.S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, Jean Rhys, Fred D’Aguiar, Edwidge Danticat, Jamaica Kincaid, ou Anita Desai, Anita Nair, Arundhati Roy, etc. Elle a également publié des ouvrages, dont une monographie consacrée à The Enigma of Arrival de V.S. Naipaul (V.S. Naipaul. L’Énigme de l’arrivée. L’éducation d’un point de vue, 2007), et plusieurs recueils d’articles.

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