The Fourth Century by Edouard Glissant

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The Fourth Century tells of the quest by young Mathieu Béluse to discover the lost history of his country, Martinique. Aware that the officially recorded version he learned in school omits and distorts, he turns to a quimboiseur named Papa Longoué. This old man of the forest, a healer, seer, and storyteller, knows the oral tradition and its relation to the powers of the land and the forces of nature. He tells of the love-hate relationship between the Longoué and Béluse families, whose ancestors were brought as slaves to Martinique. Upon arrival, Longoué immediately escaped and went to live in the hills as a maroon. Béluse remained in slavery. The intense relationship that had formed between the two men in Africa continued and came to encompass the relations between their masters, or, in the case of Longoué, his would-be master, and their descendants. The Fourth Century closes the gap between the families as Papa Longoué, last of his line, conveys the history to Mathieu Béluse, who becomes his heir.

About Edouard Glissant

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Édouard Glissant is one of the foundational figures of Francophone literature. Along with other writers from the French West Indies, he inaugurated a radical interrogation of the French literary canon from the margins of the traditionally Paris-centered literary world. His books include Black Salt: Poems and Poetics of Relation, which was also translated by Betsy Wing.
Published April 1, 2001 by Bison Books. 295 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The modern history of Martinique is embedded in this colorful chronicle (published in French in 1997) of the interrelationships and rivalries of two families whose founders were brought to the island as slaves in 1788.

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Publishers Weekly

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West Indian writer douard Glissant addresses the turbulent, often tragic history of Martinique in The Fourth Century (trans.

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