Writing Oceania

par : KS Pallai



In the present paper, I will analyze the characteristics and the inner dynamics of literary texts of Oceania[1]. I’d like to reveal the inner processes constructing, structuring and organizing the intra-textual complexity often seen and interpreted as inherent and constitutively a priori. I aim at describing the objectification of textual elements (Pallai, 2010), the emergence, happening and becoming of texts.

The phenomenological approach can mediate between the pre-given state of textuality and the completion or saturation of the initial openness, which is an essential characteristic and accessibility that prepares the birth of a text and enables its presentification[2] and reorganization by readers. I use the words “presentification”“presence” in a different sense or at least on a different plane of signification than Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (2004). The truth in the sense of Entbergung (revealing), or Unverborgenheit (unconcealment) inevitably needs our understanding (or accepting by active examination) of the pre-ontological state of presence (Heidegger, 1933/2001). The embodiment can easily be read in terms of performativity (Gumbrecht, 2004). My thesis is that a denormalization (critical destabilization) and decomposition of our onto-phenomenological and epistemic spectrum is triggered by the literature of the Pacific and the epistemic dimension of poly-structurality (White and Ralkowski, 2005). The pre-given state of textuality is read here as proto-textuality or substance of content, which precedes the actualization of the text in form of textual objects[3] (characters, events, points of crystallization of intertextual relations, etc.).

Gumbrecht describes the typology of relations between the signified and its form by using the notions of “substance and form of content”, “substance and form of expression” (Gumbrecht, 2004). I tend to apply substance of content to speak about the pre-noematic, and in some cases about the meta-interpretative level of perception, cognition and onto-phenomenological experience.

By examining the dimensions and (micro-)realities of texts, we can describe their nature as multi-potential and similar to dynamic fractal systems. Texts are constructed temporarily in our mental horizon and seem to work with reiteration and/or modification of their elements. Each sentence, paragraph, page and chapter appears to the mind as manifestations of an intention of presentification. Each textual object is produced by the sedimentation and complexification of the text. When focusing on this aspect of interpretation, we need to complete our text-based analysis with a self-reflexive and epistemological side. We also need to be aware not to focus our attention exclusively on the structures of meaning, but also on the structures of presence (and spatio-temporality).

When I say presence, I need the support of literary texts of regions with an undoubtedly different culture of reflection and a much more non-hermeneutically and non-ontologically oriented tendency of the interpretation of being and reflexivity: cultures and societies of essentially different chronotopes (Gumbrecht, 2009). I use these texts in order not to fall prey to the allure and temptation of occidental (and especially Eurocentric) philosophical thought. I would underline (among others) the substantiation, typologization and subject-centered culture of epistemological practice.




Presence is constituted by effects of form taking shape in our mental horizon. To renew our philosophical and literary praxis, we need to see presence in a pre-conceptual, but still phenomenological aspect (in the process of taking shape in our mind). Gumbrecht speaks about presence as a “coming forth effacing itself and bringing itself back” (Gumbrecht, 2004). The being-in-front and the tangibility of ‘prae-esse’ need to have various layers of relationality and intentionality. A transmission and a productive permeation can exist between perception and meaning attribution. The vibration and fluctuation, generated by the movements of circular displacement between the surface of impression and the surface of meaning attribution constitute the complexity of being. The ceremony of ‘sua’ (presentation of an animal or ‘tapa’ cloth to an important person) generates and structures a perceptual and mental space of presence and epiphany. The performative character of presentation belongs to a transformed referentiality, to an intrinsically and extrinsically differentiated dimension of presence (Gumbrecht, 2006; Forrai, 1997). Presence is a possibility of forms, an infinity of contentual recombinations, an instability, a gravitation towards manifestation (Derrida, 1972). Presence is being-related, and thus it can be seen as limit-phenomena available in limit-situations to our interpretive consciousness. Presence is the availability of a transgressive mental practice, of a spatio-temporal change, a shift in our awareness.

In My Urohs, Emelihter Kihleng presents us a scene of presence, of unstructured immediacy of pre-intentional dynamics: “my urohs is an isimwas feast / with over a hundred urohs hanging / from the rafters of the nahs / swaying in the breeze”[4] (Kihleng, 2008: 49).

We can locate the manifestation and the dynamic process of presence in the collection My Urohs. The water pounding the cement (‘Writer’s Block’), the karer tree and the pink Bougainvillea (‘ABC Ohmine’)[5], the banana on the side of fish and rice (‘Pwihk O’) – even though they may seem static to the perception – offer mental spaces of intrinsic movement and pre-noetic experimentation. In the experience of visualizing the ‘urohs’ swaying in the breeze, we can seize a pre-morphologic status in the constitution of our horizon of experiences. This involvement in the generating of the basis of our phenomenological (and later ontological) understanding works nevertheless on a pre-apprehensive level (Boi et al., 2007). The poetry of Kihleng brings us closer to the self-reflexivity and the examination of the inner connectedness of our perceptions and noematic schematizations, closer to a tangible presence. This is the deictic potentiality of epiphany. In the case of the Pacific, the traces of the multiplicity and simultaneity of fragmanted domains of possibilities can be traced in poetry (and other narratives of identity). The Pohnpeian Nan Madol (meaning spaces inbetween) symbolizes the articulation of openness as the fundamental world horizon. The immanent subjectivity of poly-dimensionality is meta-thematic as for the conceptualized (mostly western) networks of shapes of meaning. I would however refrain from using the notion of “presence culture” (Gumbrecht, 2004). The immediacy of manifestations in the pre-noematic state of poly-structurality cannot be temporalized in the word “epiphany” as Gumbrecht uses it. Vertical and horizontal epistemic structures present themselves simultaneously, and presence (read in poetry from authors of the Pacific Ocean) does not sedimentate in a way to create layers of thematized (western) existence. This does not exist in deep structures of immediacy (‘Lost in focused intensity’). Pluri-dimensional thematizations and the composition of a unified perspective out of geographical, somatic and mental insularity can be seen in the Pe’a (traditional male tattoo – Samoa) (Schwendtner, 2000).

            In the poetry of Kauraka Kauraka, we find the genesis of semantic fields of inter-subjectivation and unity. The mentioning of Manihiki and Maui-Potiki[6] (Kauraka, 1985: 9-13) activate the synchronic compositional function of language establishing attached regions of referentiality to an ontological unity of the Pacific. Havaiki (ancestral homeland of the Polynesians) inscribes into the poem relations constituting meaning. These operators of identity description work in order to establish an active associative and collective horizontality of vertical segments (to create unity in difference and oneness in differenciated extensions of the present moment). These textual elements contribute to a unified reading of self-temporalization (Selbstzeitigung) and the omni- or all-temporality (Allzeitlichkeit).

Fragrances, weeds and ‘tihiti’[7] are instances of the self-organizing map of the world of objects. The spatial morphology of the notions and the mental factors involved in the opening of the textual architecture create interrelations between personal experiences of being and regionally isomorphic (yet still radically heterogeneous) readings of the world experience. The Pacific, in this reading, is conceived of as a conceptual establishment operating from the exterior, but having internal epistemic unity as well.

            The poetic work of Kauraka offers us transgressive points of our understanding of the construction of the world, of our presence, being and of our self-organization as systems of formal iteration and modification (Ireland and Derix, 2003: 1). Being in these poems is a “place of epiphany” without explicit manifestation of a reflexion on subjectivity (‘A negative anthropology’). The enclosed conceptual space of self-objectivation is organically attached to the dynamic space of the perceptual. This enables us to look at the genetic morphology of being as given, to gain access to the analytical and critical experience of its processuality, of its becoming. Objects of the perceptual dimension serve in Kauraka’s work as elastic pointing indexicals[8] towards domains of ontological intensity. Indexicals have fixpoint[9] origins in texts, but they are detached and they gain flexibility as operators of ontological aspects. These texts lend themselves easily to a dynamic interpretation of phenomenology. In this aspect, I do not focus on textual objects in their finalized or saturated status (as they take their final semantic, structural place and their position in the network of meta-, inter- and intra-textual relations) but on the process of their becoming and complexification. In this process, segments of overlapping occur. We need however, to circumscribe this phenomenon and distinguish it from the notion of ubiquity as Gumbrecht uses it. In present moment (existential) presence as in textual presence, this is not an infinite availability, not a manuscript of omnipresence or all-time availability. This applies to textual objects in their inter-relatedness, segments of meta-textuality and personal being (as a conjunction of somatic and mental components)(Gumbrecht, 2010: 6-9). In this sense, each literary passage and text is a site of mental (and ontological) delocalization and potentiality, of fluctuation in our tendentiously static discourse of noematic contents (Lasserre et al., 2005: 1-5).

Another way of illustrating what I would call the horizontification of textual and ontological experience and interpretation, is the example of elementary monomials. (When reading the Pacific, both in the literary and the abstract way, instead of conceiving of the text as a set of variables structured and read in a reflexive and temporal way, we need to think of it as elements, subsets and sets of polynomials projected on what becomes an identity map). Writing (and being as an onto-phenomenological experience) is thus a mapping (and iteration, alteration, movement) of variables or sequences of variables from infinite virtual sets to ordered compositions (Ebrahimi et al., 2007: 1-7).

What I propose here is a combinatorial identity concept[10], having the features of fractal dynamics. Our tendency of operating structurations of definite summations over infinite arrays of indefinite elements can be replaced or reconceptualized by the unlearning of our habituations and by the delocalizations of our representations. As for the expression of the internal epistemic unity of Polynesia, we have the word ‘feuna’ signifying both homeland territory and placenta (Gannier, 2005).

            In Hingano, Konai Helu Thaman describes some symptoms of an identity epidemic (‘My Blood’), mentions the turning of the pages of foreign text books (“Island Fire”), but also the silence and the hidden secrets of the past (‘Tiare’). The longing for a fast canoe and the images of the mirrored sky function as onto-phenomenological operators (Thaman, 1987: 6, 14, 30): “Pray, give me now a fast canoe / That I may join the fish of the ocean / And together we will weep / For the works of the night”.

We can pose questions concerning the hermeneutics of facticity. The destabilization of our ratiocinatively oriented presence works by the shift structures of physical scripting (Pirastu, 1996: 18-36).  The scenes and imagery of presence subvert our categories and taxonomic determinations inscribed in the western philosophical tradition.

We witness the liberation of the sign, the disclosure and unconcealment of opaque and dense conceptual complexifications. Texts operate as destabilizing components in order to outline the basic dynamics of the disclosure of our mental fixations: “we weave intricate patterns / around each other / making a tapestry of silent songs / we listen to each other’s dreams / pause then listen again” (Thaman, 1987: 58).

Facticity and the characteristic (interpretative) operations of being are disrupted in their phenomenologically and noematically oriented flow. Silence, as a form of extension of discourse, or rather the interrogation (differentiated polarity) of the pause creates a space of particular temporality, a temporal singularity. Identity is constructed by temporal and non-temporal instances. When we refer to the conceptual sequences of the mind, to the formal and contentual mental processes opposed to the post- and/or pre-structural moments of discontinuity, silence signifies an architectural hiatus, or a different tissue of temporality in the paradigm where we conceive of time assigning visual units to the processuality of contentual phases.

When taking the concept of “chronotope” in Gumbrecht’s reading, we need to underline that it exists only in terms of continuity and transgression between continuities. Chronotopes are constructed by spectrums of units of complexity (second, minute, hour) related between their boundaries and limitations. Units of silence and the interplay of segments of non-temporality do not fit into this paradigm. There is a need of decategorization and reconsideration of modality concerning the performative time of mental production to be able to attribute a place to other kinds of temporalities. Do domains of non-productive sequential form make time invisible of inexistent? Can we think of time between units of production of signification as generating an absence, or do we only have to let go of our noematically expropriated understanding of presence, time and chronotopes? Can the ‘dramatische Stagnation’ phrased by Gumbrecht be the signal of the inadequateness of our chronotope which can’t reflect on other kinds of temporal experiences or its own conceptual restrictions and deficiencies? (Gumbrecht, 2007: 3-5; 2010c: 60-64).

            What we see is a dissolution of dyadic oppositions (conscious-unconscious, intentional‒non-intentional components of consciousness). The efforts of philosophical thought to render contents visible and seizable to the mind fail at the onto-phenomenologically unstable structures of signification that we find in the poetry of the Pacific. There is a subversion of intentionality, mental spatiality and temporality. Identity is not instituted, but installed through presence, saturated by implicating differentiations and possibilities (Butler, 1993: 7-10). Literature becomes the framework of the resignification of the self, of the de-/re-materialization of the experience. The systematizations and the architecture of our consciousness (and of our concepts about being) are contested and destabilized by the discursive excess of presence and individual singularity appearing in a resignified temporality.

            The immediacy of our relation to our exteriority (previously absorbed by abstractions) is restored by the action of being present and attached to multiple facets and manifestations of reality: “you and i like waves will be / free to join the sky at sea” (‘Like Waves Will Be’) (Descombes, 1979: 29-36). The dehabituation of our gnoseologically (related to the philosophy of knowledge) and metaphysically oriented being leads us to a critical understanding of our theoretic world-acquisition, of our apperception and comprehension of the tangible dimensions of the world. Texts can lead us back to the differentiable nature of the matrix of our perception of objecthood and subjectivity. Certain textual places are capable of disorganizing our semantic horizon as well as of redefining the axis and metric of our conceptualizing activity by interpretative displacements. Texts, in this reading, are emerging membranes, or spatial densifications of transgression, restructuring fluctuations deregularizing and transforming mental fixpoints. Fixpoints denote monic domains and singular points of confinable forms of intelligible structure. The emergence and becoming of the text can be interpreted as the dynamization of textual elements by the formulations, approximations and processes of the mind. The text appears to the consciousness by its mental and corporeal genesis (effects of sound having a physical dimension) (Montero, 1987: 154-56).

           Trough and in this poetry, we are inscribed in the horizon of the intelligible structures of objects and objectivity. Our relation to the world of objects and presence works on a pre-reflexive and supra-temporal level. A phase transition operates by textuality, which interrupts the noetic flow and installs a transformed relationality to hyletic contents (sensuous contents of the determination of an object). We need to reexamine our cognitive and epistemological orientation in relation to textuality (Toronyai, 2001: 1-10). The world of objects and of presence (exempt from mental over-determination) is presented to us as a set of complex and structured entities present in our intentive processes preexisting formal ontological expressions and categorizations and not admitting volitional and conceptual reductions.

Entropy and anisotropy as fields of phenomenological rescaling: an ontology of immediacy

The analyzed poetic works sketch a multi-positional approach, where we experience a friction in the noematic substrate performed in order to renew our ways of objectivation and the opacity of our presence-oriented being. Scenes and objects presented in these poems appear to be non-contingent. The singular points of their presence suggest that their being is optative, but their temporal career posits them as being of non-changing character. Scenes, descriptions and objects are super-textually interconnected and stratified in their relationality positing themselves in the form of objectivated objects with intentional but intuitive-natural presence. They establish the meta-phenomenological continuum functioning as a contextual instrument and a thematic field to create moments of digression and entropy. Thereby, the ontological structure of entities is re-presented, and the immanent dynamics and fluctuations of literary texts outline a continuum-based approach of metaphysics and onto-phenomenology.

            Makiuti Tongia evokes the Avatiu stream and the guava trees (‘I Remember’) and Avaiki[11] (‘Outcast’). ’Ora’, meaning living time, is more closely related to the processual composition of the internal architecture of phenomenology than to the noematic contents of consciousness. Scenes of description generate sequences of operators occurring at successive instants in the text (Omnès and Sangalli, 1999: 163-79).  The changes that redefine relations to the ‘marae’, ‘kikau houses’, ‘umu’ and ‘kai’[12] belong to the epistemologically and intentionally conditioned and formalized temporality, but certain components of the ‘ora’ generate stationary and movable states of a proto-temporality and intuitive topology.

            In Ruperake Petaia’s poetry, a department store (‘Blue Rain’), a market place, an ‘oso’ or a ‘tiapula’ (‘Change’) can take this function (Petaia, 1980: 1, 5)[13]. The textual body is instrumental in installing a mereological bridge between the spatiality of the perceptual (phenomena of simple mental construction) and the eidetic (in the sense of plastic givenness in thought) (Fazekas, 2004).

            The presence factor of being, fixed in literary texts, contributes to a remapping of our ontological morphology. These poems allow us to redefine the continuity and characteristics of our phenomenological interpretation, and enable us to perceive a representation of the state space of possibilities in the substantially multi-dimensional reality of the Pacific taking shape. The substrate of our epistemological schemes and the gnoseologic components of our ontological consciousness operate by perceptual-genetic dimensions of the objectual immediacy, immanent in this poetry. Instead of an interpretative stress on volitional structures, transformative textual components function as attractors in a proprioceptive discourse of a redefined ontology.




We see in this writing the contours of the contingent superstructure of a proto-epistemic reality. Descriptions define a space of instability, where monic tendencies of formalization and metaphysical meaning attribution are delocalized from their regulatory discursive center: “Most of the world’s space is mine / Living creatures live and enjoy / They hide within my immense belly / Their home for the better / and for the worse.” (Kolia, 1988: 55).

The egological structure in this passage of Fepai Kolia is part of the semantics of the extension of interoception by an ostensible definition of an inter-subjective social space. This is the realization of a transgression of limitative sets of ontologies and the emergence of poly-perspective possibilities of thematization and conceptual sedimentation. The switch to macro-phenomena (compared to the intrinsic components) entails entities that are articulated as domains of potentiality (on a conceptual level) and take part in the creation of spaces of self-expropriation and praxiological analysis (examining mental-psychological and kinesiological components of action).

The synergy of spatial, temporal and mental factors seems to result from an inherent superpositional (overlap of entities) matrix and it explicitates the need of a reactualization and formal description of an onto-phenomenological and existential hermeneutics (Leonzi, 2009: 79-84). The epistemic instruments serve the explicitation of conceptual structures and of the derivational mechanisms of the formalization of ontologies. If we do not generalize and homogenize, but we take the instances of singular representations of entities (in the present case be it ontological) separately, we can speak of a phenomenological history/histories of formal systems. In this sense, I use the plural form of the word: “Dreaming of a bright tomorrow for tomorrow / My tomorrow for tomorrow still / shaping up” (‘Tomorrow for Tomorrow’). The multi-dimensional and poly-structural Oceania dynamizes theoretical state spaces, instituting thereby new possible states of knowledge and onto-epistemic rescaling (Bokulich and Jaeger, 2010: 189-204). In ‘Lost Reality’, the ‘sua’ ceremony appears as an axiological (study of value-oriented contents) factor of actuality. Its central position endures a considerable loss of importance. The telos seems contingent and the complexity of the traditional mental space is enfeebled: “My sua was presented. / … / One percent native culture. / Ninetynine percent alterations / … / A symbol only / A mingle of cultures / A mess of ideologies / A lost reality”(‘Lost Reality’). 




Instability is read here as a multiplicity-state of differentiable notional nuclei, susceptible of generating transformational shifts reshaping our onto-epistemic configurations. There is a spectrum of query in the becoming of the structures of the self in the episteme of Oceania. We need to see that the externally rhetoricized designation of Pacific Rim is merely a pseudo-reality, a confining designation creating a surface of passivation to cover (among others) considerable parts of South-East Asia and Oceania (Dirlik, 1998: 15-20, 53-65). This inhomogeneous gnoseological vacuum renders more difficult the definition of an open-ended, dynamic mental space (Spinelli, 2005: 92-113).

            The naming of the self is an ontic realization, an auto-poiesis, an establishment or conscientization of a spectrum of coherence in self-definition: “the tale i tell is my own / theirsyours / a way of seeking some more / of Sāmoa / of my sacred centre / … / timeless mysteries / … / spaces of silence / telling lives” (Marsh, 2004). The flexibility, residing in the space of appearance and emergence of (owned) self-constructs, affects the scope of the potential space of self-approximation by hybridization and overlaps.            

            Textual onto-genesis can be located in textual instances that hypostasize moments of self-definition and executes processes of mental entities and dispositions defining identity: “She wants answers / what-whom-where” (Austrai-Kailo, 2004),  “Everyone eats up to their elbows / … / Bring us a bowl of water / a cloth / to wash our hands.” (Avia, 2002), “Where is the Ni-Vanuatu girl? / … / listening to dekudekuni / weaving baskets and mats / … / Playing the kurukuru duele / singing tutu tutu gwao / sitting quietly on a mat”[14] (Aru, 2004).

            In my reading, the reconsideration of self-constructs is a textual event in its written manifestation, and singular points (in this onto-processual approach) are textual objects. Their emergence creates sub-sets and sets of ontic manifestation, and by means of this mereological system[15] (relations of parts and wholes) a transubstantiation (onto-textuality: text – being) operates and attributes existential corpus and meaning to the indexical devices (textual objects) of the text. The narrative protocols are thereby by-passed by the very (onto-epistemo-genetical) nature of textuality (Hereniko and Wilson, 1999: 1-9, 381-85).



            When we try to get to a conclusion, we need to see, that the structural and process-based analysis of our lives (and its manifestations in/through literary texts) can take the shape of a doxastic, epistemological approach. These approximations, however, are not coextensive with the inherent, existentially oriented textual domains. Textual objects function as parameters of binding, creating the attachment between textual operators and the spectrum of existentially-based manifestations of being (Rahman, 2009: 274-281). Thereby, the text is read as a set of possible projectors serving as generating points of a continuum of singular instances of instantiation. The text is the indexical subset of possible existential values[16], shaped by manifestation, pointed to by textual objects: “By your own seeds unknown, / … / Lifeless, helpless, cruelly defaced. / … / The sands of Point Cruz trembled, / The palms of Nukapu blooded” (Habu, 1975).

            In the poetry of Konai Helu Thaman, we can seize the nature of the orientation of focal objects (textual indexicals) and the field of manifestation (evolution of onto-phenomenological possibilities): “So come with me sister / Let’s take a chance and make the break / After all, we cannot all go back / To the land.” (Thaman, 2000: 6). In literary texts of the oceanic imaginary, we find multiplicatives and recombinations, delinearizations of confining conceptuality and the emergence of extending epistemologies (Subramani, 2006: 1-9; 1999: 1-3): “perhaps the ground / made it possible to live / among the trees / … / lives lived under / clear skies defy / the flavor of storms” (‘Living Among the Trees’), “today it rained and rained / as if it’s never rained before / as if the rain / was leaving its cage / opening to the world / through the tears / of the sky” (‘Tango-I-Onehoko’) (Thaman, 1993: 9, 13).

            We also need to reflect on the conditioning of space as a mental construction and the vectors of our hermeneutical interpretation of the substance of the episteme of the ocean. Fracturing models of linear, discrete understanding cannot preserve and integrate the complexity and intrinsic mobility of the oceanic epistemological continuum[17] (Meyer, 2001: 1-3). In ‘Ōlelo Hawai’I’ ‘ho’omaopopo’ means to understand, recognize, comprehend, but also to identify and conceive. In the gnoseology and entelechy present in (or invoked by) literary texts of oceanic regions[18], we can see actualizations of dynamical ontological dispositions (Cannavo, 2009: 9-14). The literary field (or spectrum of multitudes) of Oceania comprehends an immanent variable actuating an open-ended entelechy and a facilitative modulation in the structure of our perception and mental operation (Bell, 2004: 1-4).

            The mental spatiality of Oceania is an affirmative peculiarity of archipelagic regions in the Pacific (e.g. Melanesia): the textual instances of identity function as operative pointers saturating possible loops of interconnection between scripts of reality (phase of textuality) and onto-epistemic/corporeal manifestations of flexible (conceptual dimension) or tangible form (physical dimension) (phase of instantiation).

The instantiating movements of textual state vectors create open-boundary conditions of an epoche of hermeneutical resignification: “half-flown moons / and circling half planets / deep in the concentric circles / of my tormented conscience / … / the fiji times lies crumpled / … / and there is an uneasy / feeling of uncertainty” (Mati, 1980), “foraging the common refuse / for a canefield and a wooden house / … / you clear the clog of camphor / from your nasal passages / breathing gently from memory to memory.” (Mishra, 1995), “Samoans had taken the sea’s friendship for granted / … / Free phone calls to Samoa (But only one Samoa)/ … / Solomon says / Viti says / Niue says” (Teaiwa, 2010).

            We can read the hypostasis of a spatio-temporal delocalization of our legibility of onto-phenomenological processes of transfer and translation (Tymieniecka, 2009: 312-17): “Vanuatu / our land / in perpetuity / our people re-born / for eternity. / … / Vanaaku Vanuatu.” (Molisa, 1983: 7). The episteme of Oceania does not only have a regional unity in terms of identity and narrative discourse, but also represents a productive phase space[19] of gnoseological, existential and onto-phenomenological reshaping, of a fundamental philosophical repolarization (Subramani, 1992: 83-90; Hau’ofa, 2008: 41-44): “Oceania is vast, Oceania is expanding, Oceania is hospitable and generous, Oceania is humanity rising from the depths of brine and regions of fire deeper still, Oceania is us. We are the sea, we are the ocean” (Hau’ofa, 2008: 39).



I would like to express my gratitude to my dissertation supervisor, Dr. Réka Tóth (ELTE BTK) for her advice and help. I have also benefited from discussing this work with Prof. Dr. János Polónyi (University of Strasbourg), Prof. Dr. Géza Kállay (ELTE BTK) and Dr. Viktor Malárics. I’m also thankful for the observations of Dr. Elizabeth DeLoughrey (UCLA). This article could not have been written without the financial support of the research grant TÁMOP-4.2.2/B-10/1-2010-0030/1.4 (Tendencies of changes of linguistic and cultural identities).

© Károly Sándor Pallai

Cette étude a d'abord paru dans la revue Vents Alizés, dirigée par l'auteur :





[1] I use the term to underline the intrinsic epistemic unity.

[2] The word is used here to refer to the substantially indicative, open-ended process of textual unconcealment outlining gradually more and more complex and formally concretized ontological manifestations.

[3] textual elements objectified and phenomenalized in the processuality of textual becoming (the structuration and mental complexification of the text and its appearance as a finalized written entity)

[4] meaning of words (Pohnpeian - Micronesia): isimwas (new nice house), nah (hut with a U-shaped platform hosting the ceremonies)

[5] karer (Pohnpeian word for lime), Bougainvillea (flowering plant native to South America, named after French Navy explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville)

[6] Polynesian character of narratives, also known as Maui-tikitiki-o-Taranga

“kia rongo akahou te ao nei / i na fakahiti o te Ika-a-Maui-Potiki / no Havaiki mai!” – “so the world will once again hear / tales of the Fish-of-Maui-Potiki / from Havaiki”

[7] butterfly fish (Zanclus canescens)

[8] a deictic element pointing towards textual objects, onto-phenomenological or mental entities

[9] invariant point, mapped to itself by a function

[10] with special regard to the combinatorial aspects of identity as a dynamic system, having characteristics that can be modelled approximately by group theory, fractal dynamics and chaos theory

[11] the entity referred to as the legendary homeland of Polynesians – Savaii (Samoa), Raiatea (French Polynesia), Hawaii (USA), Avaiki (Cook Islands), Niue, Hawaiki (New Zealand)

[12] meaning of words (Cook Islands) – marae (sacred meeting ground), kikau houses (coconut leaf thatching), umu (earth oven), kai (food)

[13] meaning of words (Samoa) – oso (planting stick), tiapula (stem of the taro plant [Colocasia esculenta])

“schools now / teaching us living / with pens and papers / no more with the ‘oso’ and ‘tiapula’” (“Change”)

This concept of time as an agent of change is similar to the paradigm of chronotopes used by Gumbrecht.

[14] meaning of words (Vanuatu) – dekudekuni (custom stories), kurukuru duele, tutu-tutu gwao (traditional games)

[15] with emphasis on meronomic relations in set theory and its adaptations to the study of identity

[16] set of possible existential values of ‘hors-texte’ manifestation and instantiation {Ev}

[17] The discrete geographical and mental pattern of archipelagos has continuum-like domains manifesting through structures of divergence. This enables a differentiation and conceptual recombination, while creating a spiritual and epistemological continuity.

[18] I refer especially to the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean as spacially poly-structured, receptive literary fields that contribute to the reparametrization of our theory-laden onto-epistemic and hermeneutic phase space.

[19] in mathematics and physics: a space in which all possible states of a system are represented



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