Book Review: The Treatise on the Whole-World by Édouard Glissant
This engaging and challenging work by the seminal French-Caribbean writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant features a timely plea for valuing and preserving diversity, relation and the irreducible alterity of the ‘Other’. The book is especially pertinent amidst a historical backdrop plagued by socio-ecological upheavals and the mounting absence of diversity in a multiplicity of forms- from languages to species- which Glissant frequently laments (p. 131). The book’s fragmented structure, which may pose a challenge for some readers, features a mosaic of theoretical discussions, poetry and passages narrated by characters from Glissant’s previous novels. Yet the book’s structure reflects not only Glissant’s eclectic background but also the work’s core themes of diversity and relation. An array of thinkers, concepts, lines of inquiry and propositions are brought together- albeit not always as clearly or explicitly as they might have been- to produce the whole-text that is The Treatise on the Whole-World.