Adventures of the ‘bateau livres’

Revisiting the Pacific with Edouard Glissant

Francosphères (2017), 6, (2), 125–139.


This article examines in some detail the works of three of the four writers who took part in the ‘bateau-livres’ project directed by Patrice Franceschi (2004–2007) with the schooner La Boudeuse, retracing some of Bougainville’s exploratory journeys in the Pacific and elsewhere, in an attempt to connect with ‘les peuples de l’eau’, indigenous populations distanced from major urban centres by expanses of water. Edouard Glissant’s association with this project would seem to indicate an openness to establishing a non-hierarchical Relation, in which the rights of both observer and observed to mutual opacity are respected. By adopting a textual focus, we seek to establish how this principle of opacity is, or is not, upheld by each of the writers dealing with the Pacific (Le Clézio on Vanuatu; Glissant on Easter Island; Borer on French Polynesia). To conclude, we briefly address the question of interculturality in travel writing.


Author details

Anderson, Jean