Abstract

The history of the notion “continent” teaches us the relativity of geographical divisions. Let's consider the connotations of continent: holding together different lands presumes a continuity between them, and thus a similar content (continent, continuity, content). So, thinking about literature in term of space, and especially in the shape of a continent, leads one to question its status and its role. “Thinking literature across continents” implies crossing borders but we must question the meaning of passing through borders. What passes is, in itself, meaningless: it is the movement of passing, the transition itself, that gives meaning to what passes. Every voice, in every language, opens up one of these transitions. But a transition from one continent to another cannot be thought of as a translation that preserves a continuity of sense. What is forgotten in this map of multiple continents? The oceans, the seas, the islands, the peninsulas, the archipelagos. Today a multilateral perspective implies an “archipelagic paradigm” that highlights the ties between isolated territories, far from any continental identity. From this new perspective, let us think about what we could call the “discontinent.”

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