Publication details [#20630]

Chanson, Philippe. 2009. "Rien n’est plus fort que le Bon Dieu!" Quand le conteur créole convoque et traduit le Dieu colonial ["No one is stronger than God!” When the Creole storyteller calls up and translates the colonial God]. In Lassave, Pierre, ed. Traduire l'intraduisible [Translating the untranslatable]. Special issue of Archives de sciences sociales des religions 147 (3): 125–145.
Publication type
Article in Special issue
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Creole storytelling is an example of a historical phenomenon of translation which involves more than just religious facts: as the ultimate referent believer is the God of a religion–in this case the God of Christianity. A resistance speech hidden under a playful appearance, Creole storytelling plays the role of a surrogate myth that it recreates at the heart of West Indies-Guyanese communities which were born out of trafficking, subjected to slavery and were then recreated from a situation of total anthropological dispossession. It is from this wounded memory–also theologically wounded–that the Creole storytelling took shape. Skilfully convened by the storyteller, a champion of wandering words, once uttered in the darkness of the Plantation (under the noses of the colonial masters), the Christian God is described, translated and perpetuated in a form which is inevitably and strategically associated with the figure of the slave master, an omnipotent presence which both needs to be won over and fooled. In this sense, Creole storytelling, which requires a palimpsest interpretation, remains the original witness of a cultural and spiritual translation that was without a doubt completely unforeseen by colonialism, but whose lasting effects are still dormant in Creole communities.
Source : Abstract in journal