Fugitive Rivers: Maroon Ecologies and Édouard Glissant’s La Lézarde

Duncan, Ifor. 2023. Fugitive Rivers: Maroon Ecologies and Édouard Glissant’s La Lézarde. Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, 27(1), pp. 92-108. ISSN 1468-8417 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The demarcation of borders along rivers produces contested ecologies where the very same water bodies that have been exploited and weaponised for the purposes of division are also crucial routes of crossing for those in search of asylum. These riverine routes of necessity in search of refuge echo the fugitive processes of escape from enslavement and establishing maroon communities upstream and outside of the plantation imaginary. Starting with rivers in Black and maroon ecology, spatial conceptions of legibility, and the submerged plot, this article involves a reading of Édouard Glissant’s early novel La Lézarde (1958) in which a river features as protagonist of a plot to rise up against ongoing colonial rule in the context of Martinique’s transition from French colony to département. Fugitive spatial imaginaries present the possibility of understanding and living with rivers beyond the grip of colonialism and the plantation system.

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Additional Information:

This work was partially supported by a Postdoctoral fellowship at the New Institute Centre for the Environmental Humanities (NICHE), Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice (2020-22).


Maroon ecology; Édouard Glissant; postcolonial rivers; plantations; fugitive rivers

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures
Visual Cultures > Centre for Research Architecture


22 August 2023Submitted
23 October 2023Accepted
29 October 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

15 Nov 2023 09:21

Last Modified:

16 May 2024 15:05

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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