Heath Ledger’s Thoughts On ‘Macho Bulls**t Culture’ Should Inspire Us All

Heath Ledger wasn’t one to fall by the wayside. He was constantly pushing himself to be better, learn more and grow within an industry that typically only opens its gates for a select number of artists. 

In “I Am Heath Ledger,” the new documentary airing on Spike Wednesday night, viewers get a glimpse into Ledger’s personal goings-on and what he hoped to accomplish, not just as an actor, but as a “multidimensional artist,” before his tragic and untimely death at age 28 in January 2008. 

“The end game, ultimately, for Heath was to produce and direct feature films, and that passion was leading to some amazing opportunities for him and would have been something incredible for him to fulfill,” director Derik Murray told HuffPost in a sit-down interview following the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of “I Am Heath Ledger” last month. 

Matt Amato, Ledger’s friend who co-founded the production company The Masses with him, echoed that statement to HuffPost, explaining Ledger was ready “to flip the paradigm of this male-driven, macho bullshit culture that we’re drowning in” with his directorial debut, “The Queen’s Gambit,” which was sadly never made. The movie, based on the book of the same name, would have told the story of a woman who struggles with alcohol addiction as she works her way into the chess championships. 

“Matt and many of the [’I Am Heath Ledger’] cast would talk about the fact that Heath would be as interested in what the role had to offer as he was to who the director was,” Murray said of Ledger’s decision to take on certain projects. “He would look at those directors and he would be very much present during the filming and be learning from them each step of the way. He talked about how his passion was to be a director with ‘Queen’s Gambit,’ but it wasn’t to be.” 

Below, Murray, co-director Adrian Buitenhuis, and Amato talk with HuffPost about their documentary and Ledger’s craft, constantly alluding to the fact that everyone can learn a little something from the actor, who left this world far too soon. 

Congratulations on the premiere. Looks like it was a wonderful night. 

Derik Murray: I think what made the Tribeca premiere really special for all of us was that the family was there and many of the close friends that were interviewed for the movie. For many of them, that was the first time they saw the movie and so there was a lot of anticipation on our part as to how that would go ― not fearful, just anticipation — but it was fabulous. Everybody loved the movie.

Had Heath’s family been given the chance to see the film beforehand? 

DM: We showed Heath’s family a rough cut, frankly for the purposes of talking about archive and pulling more material together and making sure we had some of the facts straight. But also, with the trust we built with them, we wanted to extend that [option], so we showed them the rough cut and that was a very emotional experience for them. They called us at 1 o’clock in the morning, very emotional about the movie and very much at the state of mind that they had no idea what it was going to be — they couldn’t really visualize it — but the message loud and clear to us was that it was Heath. It really captured his spirit.

Matt, I’m truly sorry for your loss. This couldn’t have been necessarily easy for you. What was this film process like?

Matt Amato: I’m just coming out of the end of a six-month journey, and I’m relieved. The important thing for me was the family, and they love it, and now it’s about the audience’s feelings about the movie. It exists now for the audience and I hope it’s inspiring for young people to not waste a minute of their life — to really, live, live, live.

What did you want an audience member to leave the theater or a viewing of this film thinking or feeling?

Adrian Buitenhuis: I definitely wanted people to be inspired. Inspired to see what you can do in your life and what you’re capable of. And also to show someone who, even if they gained a lot of success ― at least in Heath’s case ― [didn’t] forget about his friends or his family and kept them really close. It’s a nice testament to how to have relationships in your life. He made everyone close to him feel special in a way. He never looked down on anyone, from what I can tell making the film, and was inspiring his friends to be better and they were inspiring him. To see him as an artist and his work, and being able to work with his work, was really great.

He’s kind of like a director of the movie in a way, because it’s a lot of his photography and footage that’s shown throughout.

DM: We’ve been talking about this for quite some time, is that Heath, in many ways when making the film, would direct the storyline with all the footage that came forward to us. We’ve been calling him a director/co-director/partner all the way through.

How did you go about gathering the photos and footage Heath captured?

DM: When we first started doing the research, we realized Heath was much more than just this star of his generation or his acting ability — he was a multidimensional artist. When we learned that, we did some research on Matt’s involvement and his relationship with Heath and The Masses and, in that world, Heath was in partnership creatively with Matt, in business, and doing some amazing work with music videos and working with various artists, and that was something that Heath was very passionate about. The end game, ultimately, for Heath was to produce and direct feature films together, and that passion was leading to some amazing opportunities for him and would have been something incredible for him to fulfill.

On the footage, through Matt, we had access to these music videos and then Matt was kind enough to open the door to some of the content that Heath had filmed and also content that had been filmed of Heath through his personal journey. That then basically started a dialogue with the family about the content that they might have through the estate and then friends stepped forward and provided us with their content, as well. So it was really a community effort that brought all that content together that you now see on the screen that captures Heath in an amazing way, through his own lens.

For those who only know Heath as an actor, it really opens those doors for you to see him as a human being.

MA: Yes, he was pretty wonderful. We talked a lot about directing and what we’d do if we moved forward with our company together … Heath’s vision was an authentic vision. We were going on to make “The Queen’s Gambit,” which would’ve been his first movie, and I’m sure he was going to nail that. He was going to be working with his favorite cinematographer, Ed Lachman, who does amazing work with Todd Haynes. Heath was so turned on by how Todd works with Ed and he got a lot of clues about how we should work. He was not impressed with big money movies. He really liked how Todd worked with his producer, Christine Vachon, and all the sets and locations. A lot of times when Heath would do a movie, he would just completely drop off the map, because when you’re making a movie you have to stay focused and it’s like a 24-hour day, but I knew that he’d resurface when he was done. But with “I’m Not There,” he called me every day, like, “Man, we did that! And we did this! Oh my God, we’re making art!” He was just so thrilled to be working with Todd Haynes. So, as directors, we were very against the hierarchy kind of thing. When we did our music videos together with the crew, we would be the ones to go to Home Depot and get the mops and the brooms and get food for craft service, so when the crew would arrive, they’d see us doing that stuff …

DM: Heath Ledger on craft service!

AB: That was probably a mean craft service.

MA: Yeah, he really cared about people. But then, once we got there, we would work to his max. Then, he would never really care about people’s complaints, you know, because we had set the bar. His energy and passion is something I think about all the time when I have a camera in my hands. Heath really kicks my butt.

It seems he inspires you to this day. 

MA: I was working on the day he died, on a Bon Iver video in Wisconsin. I didn’t know what to do at that point — the world was just kind of turned upside down in one moment. I really thought long and hard about what I was so supposed to do — stay or go to LA or New York? And I thought to myself, “Well, what would Heath want me to do?” He wants me to shoot with a camera and create something beautiful, that’s what he wants me to do. He doesn’t want me to stop and worry and be sad. So from the moment he died, he was kicking my butt, and he still does it. He gives me the energy to work harder, to explore camera angles and shots, to push myself to make something as excellent as it could possibly be.

The whole thing about Heath’s intelligence and his growth, each movie he did he became smarter — he was really absorbing everything. And that was big for a young person to not come off as a know-it-all or be threatened. He wanted to know. And that curiosity allowed him to be open and get really, really smart. I believe that by the time he died, he was quite brilliant. 

His energy and passion is something I think about all the time when I have a camera in my hands, Heath really kicks my butt.
Matt Amato on Heath Ledger

It would have been nice to see what “The Queen’s Gambit” could have been.

MA: Hopefully we’ll make “Queen’s Gambit.” We’ll do it in St. Louis, with Ed Lachman. St. Louis has now become the chess capital of the world … My little work co-op is right around the corner and there’s the world’s largest chess piece there, and it’s the Queen. It’s like right there, and I look at it and I’m like, “I’m no dummy! I can see the sign!” It’s about a young women, and we really wanted to flip the paradigm of this male-driven, macho bullshit culture that we’re drowning in. I feel like our culture really needs nurturing in this way and we need to be reflective and look at people and deal with people like this.

AB: You guys valued the fact that there was a big community of artists in LA who valued the stuff that didn’t have a place to come together.

MA: Yeah. Heath was ready to chuck LA for the next chapter. He wanted it to be in Brooklyn so he could be near [his daughter with Michelle Williams] Matilda. He was ready to leave all that behind. 

I loved that the film focused on his life and his art at the end, rather than the media circus that surrounded his death.

DM: It’s interesting because we’re doing, and have been doing, a lot of work of this kind where we work with the families and estates. But this film, when the assembly was coming together, there was all sorts of media clips that were helpful in moving the story forward, but Heath’s footage really just kind of took a hold, took a different spirit, and said, “This is the path we’re going to go down.” It was clear that the media footage was completely in contrast with who Heath was. We already learned in the film that it was something he wasn’t comfortable with, so you’re really seeing the true Heath in these one-on-ones or sit-down interviews. As we started pulling those out and letting it breathe, and giving more space to Heath to tell the story, the film really became and transformed itself into the film it is today.

MA: And music was really important to me. I really wanted to flood this production with music. Music that he was responsive to. I wanted music to sail us over the sad parts ― because music can do that, it does transcend. Bon Iver is one of the greatest musicians in the world today and to have his music in our movie is such a gift.

DM: Two fabulous Ben Harper songs are in the film, we’ve got two Bon Iver songs — they’re there for a purpose and a reason, and they’re beautiful. Their compliment to the story is incredible.

MA: Mia Doi Todd, Carlos Niño, Edward Sharpe. These were all people that Heath admired, and there were more to put in, but we had to stop some place.

AB: All the artists were so generous because either Heath had a big impact on their lives or they were just inspired to be a part of it and lend their music to the project. It was a real collective. The same way people brought the footage together, musicians were coming and saying, “Yeah this is important, let’s do this.” And that was great.

DM: That’s why the cast is so eclectic, you know, it’s not just driven by actors that were working with him on films. It has that music component to a significant degree.

To see the moving documentary on Heath Ledger’s life, tune in to Spike at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 17. 


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Rock-a-Bye BabyGirls: Thoughts and other Journeys of the Mind

Rock-a-Bye BabyGirls: Thoughts and other Journeys of the Mind

A collection of writings about the fetish of infantilism. It’s not an educational read about infantilism, but rather a romantic fantasy about role playing. Some role playing themes affect one in a physical way. Some affect emotions. Some go so deeply as to affect the heart, mind and soul. One such theme is infantilism, aka The “Daddy’s Girl” fetish. The age difference between the roles played becomes a foundation for a relationship. A girl pretends to be little and a guy pretends to be her father. The attraction is the feeling of vulnerability met with the “Daddy’s” nurturing care. She dresses in clothing fitting to the age she role plays. It can include infantile behavior, diapers, pacifiers, bibs, bottles, toys, cribs, nurseries, high chairs and other things. If you like role playing, erotic fantasy, infantilism, or adult fetishes, this book is a must read. THIS SUBJECT MATTER IS OF AN ADULT-NATURE AND NOT INTENDED FOR ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18.

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6 Toxic Thoughts Smart People Quarantine


Your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can make or break you. When you make a mistake, they either magnify the negativity or help you turn that misstep into something productive.

Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of.

All self-talk is driven by important beliefs that you hold about yourself. It plays an understated but powerful role in success because it can both spur you forward to achieve your goals and hold you back.

“He who believes he can and he who believes he cannot are both correct.” -Henry Ford

TalentSmart has tested the emotional intelligence (EQ) of more than a million people and found that 90% of top performers are high in emotional intelligence. These successful, high EQ individuals possess an important skill⎯the ability to recognize and control negative self-talk so that it doesn’t prevent them from reaching their full potential.

These successful people earn an average of $ 28,000 more annually than their low EQ peers, get promoted more often, and receive higher marks on performance evaluations. The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $ 1,300 to an annual salary.

When it comes to self-talk, we’ve discovered some common thoughts that hold people back more than any others. Be mindful of your tendencies to succumb to these thoughts, so that they don’t derail your career:

1. Perfection equals success. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish, instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.

2. My destiny is predetermined. Far too many people succumb to the highly irrational idea that they are destined to succeed or fail. Make no mistake about it, your destiny is in your own hands, and blaming multiple successes or failures on forces beyond your control is nothing more than a cop out. Sometimes life will deal you difficult cards to play, and others times you’ll be holding aces. Your willingness to give your all in playing any hand you’re holding determines your ultimate success or failure in life.

3. I “always” or “never” do that. There isn’t anything in life that you always or never do. You may do something a lot or not do something enough, but framing your behavior in terms of “always” or “never” is a form of self-pity. It makes you believe that you have no control of yourself and will never change. Don’t succumb to it.

4. I succeed when others approve of me. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain⎯you’re never as good or bad as they say you are. It’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, but you can take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what people think about you, your self-worth comes only from within.

5. My past equals my future. Repeated failures can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, these failures result from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Just remember that success lies in your ability to rise in the face of failure. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.

6. My emotions equal my reality. If you’ve read Emotional Intelligence 2.0, you know how to take an objective look at your feelings and separate fact from fiction. If not, you might want to read it. Otherwise, your emotions will continue to skew your sense of reality, making you vulnerable to the negative self-talk that can hold you back from achieving your full potential.

Bringing It All Together

I hope these lessons are as useful to you as they have been to me over the years. As I write them, I’m reminded of their power and my desire to use them every day.

What other toxic thoughts do successful people quarantine? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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Thom Browne, Andrew Bolton, and Hector the Dachshund Have Some Thoughts

The fashion power couple (and their Instagram-famous dog) are a style force to be reckoned with.

Style – Esquire


Tomi Lahren’s Final Thoughts Are Must-Not-See-TV

She politely calls Huma Abedin “the Muslim Brotherhood Princess.”

Lifestyle – Esquire


Roxy Grand Thoughts Backpack – Ikat Dots Peacoat

Roxy Grand Thoughts Backpack – Ikat Dots Peacoat

The Roxy Grand Thoughts backpack is built from durable 100% polyester and features an all-over Roxy print. A large main compartment, padded laptop sleeve, and a neoprene tablet sleeve will keep your tech safe. A thermal insulated pocket, fleece-lined media pocket, and side water pockets complete the pack. It measures 16″ x 11.5″ x 9″.
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Trump These Thoughts


I am the best. This is true because I said so. Even the sentences I write are the best except perhaps for the last one, which a teacher told me ended in a preposition, yet if I construct a sentence then whatever words I use are the best, because I said so and I went to Wharton which only accepts the best smart people.

Teachers are losers anyway. Imagine making less than one hundred thousand dollars a year and all you do is help kids learn? My grandchildren have car seats worth more than 100K. (I didn’t spell out the entire word again because so little money doesn’t deserve that many letters, not to mention the strain on my keyboard and typist, both of which happen to be the best.)

I don’t want stupid people like Charles Krauthammer working for me. I only recruit the best and biggest stars to work for me, like Gary Busey and Gene Simmons, instead of boring dopes like George Will.

I have a history of top people who have been winners on my shows. Remember Omarosa? Of course you do. She’s one of my best apprentices. I don’t hire stupid people that graduate from law schools, like Megyn Kelly. Dummies like that have opinions and think for themselves and that’s a dangerous problem when you’re a despot and only want to hear the sound of your own voice.

I will save money when I’m President. Why do we need two Dakotas? It’s stupid. I will combine North and South Dakota into one great state. It will be the best state without any stupid people like Jorge Ramos who has written a lot of books but they’re probably about drug dealers because some of the titles are Spanish.

I don’t like drug dealers and other bad people. I will get rid of them. Even the good ones if they are stupid. I will fix the economy too. I will build a counter featuring my top brand Trump items (did I mention they’re the best) in the White House and sell Trump ties, whisky flasks, cuff links and other really great items. Good foreigners, visiting dignitaries and people from Dakota who want to be and own the best will purchase them in such huge numbers that the sales tax alone will balance the national budget.

When I’m president if we go to war it won’t be a good war, it will be the best war, because Putin is stupid…

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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41 Thoughts You Have Watching ‘Say Yes To The Dress’

1. How do I always get suckered into watching this show on Friday nights?

2. I can tell if we’re in New York or Atlanta mostly by whether it’s Randy or Fake Southern Randy.

3. Judging by the morning staff meetings, this place will only see brides on a given day if they fit into that day’s easily digestible category, like “brides who brought their fathers” or “brides who want a weird-colored dress” or “brides with horribly judgmental friends who probably shouldn’t be there.”

4. Who are all these other staff members? They’re at the morning meeting, then they disappear. Where do they go after this? Are they magical, ephemeral dress fairies? That would actually explain a lot.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Thoughts on “Dim for Joan,” Playing House and Alli Mauzey

A big thing employers want to see on resumes is additional languages spoken. The only language I speak other than English is broken Yiddish. That’s obviously not on my resume, because who would care about that?! Except one person did, one night.

I met Joan Rivers once in my career. It was the mid-aughts. There was a rumor that she had written a new play that she wanted to bring to Broadway. I needed the scoop! I went to see her stand-up act and had press agent Ron Lasko introduce us. She was fine to me, nice even, but not focused. There were other people there and she was trying to talk to everyone at once, making my news investigation difficult. Then I said some Yiddish phrase — I don’t think to her directly, but she heard it. Upon that, she immediately perked up and zeroed in. She became the person we’ve all read about in the last week. I will forever remember it.

I never spoke to her after that and the play never came in. But I saw her frequently outside theaters. Countless actors told me how nice she was to them. While she was best known for stand-up and her comedic television gigs, she wanted to be an actress. She co-wrote a Broadway play in 1972 that she made her Broadway debut in. She later returned to the Great White Way in Broadway Bound, replacing Linda Lavin. Then, in 1994, she wrote and starred in Sally Marr… and her escorts. She received a Tony nomination for her performance. She was part of the community I live and work in.

So I understand the anger people have at the Broadway League for deciding not to dim the lights in her honor. I also understand the Broadway League not wanting to dim for every person who has ever received a Tony nomination. (I’m not sure when saving on electric bills became an honor worthy of a fight, but, got it, they want to make it special when it does happen.) However they just dimmed the lights for Robin Williams, who only appeared on Broadway twice, once with a stand-up act. Just like Rivers, he was not best known for his work in the theater. Unlike Rivers, he never received a Tony nomination and he was not known as a huge supporter of the community. So what makes him more worthy? That his last Broadway stage appearance was more recent? It doesn’t make sense. If the League wants to set standards that a person must meet before receiving the honor of the dimming of the lights, okay. Those standards can be set, but they haven’t been. Right now it’s just a group of people saying Rivers isn’t Broadway enough. Well, I’m part of the theater community, and I think she is. League member Jordan Roth is part of the community, and he thinks she is. The theaters he owns, Jujamcyn’s five Broadway houses, will dim their lights. And countless other members of the community, members of the Broadway League, think this decision is ridiculous. So why? Why make this stance against the public outcry? Why shun someone who so supported the theater? As Michael Riedel wrote in his touching tribute, she was even a theater critic. We all love our critics. Rivers should be recognized as the Broadway champion, and Tony-nominated fixture, she was.

As long as I’m talking about funny ladies and things I don’t understand, I’m going to again write about Playing House. Still no word from USA Network on renewal. I’m sure the network heads have seen all the Twitter comments and articles urging renewal, but they are apparently still debating. I can see some network executive is studying the numbers, commenting mentally about how they are worse than Sirens‘ numbers. I want to say again — Playing House is a show that USA did not promote well. You want a show that USA promoted really well? Satisfaction. Every time I have on USA, I see something about Satisfaction being sexy and addictive. It’s a very good campaign, especially for housewives. I wish USA had spent that much time promoting Playing House, even if they tried to promote that too as Fifty Shades of Grey. At least then people would have turned it on. This isn’t a show that had a huge debut and fell off because it was, um, Black Box. This is a show that needs time to grow by word-of-mouth. It hasn’t had all the time it needed. It needs a second season.

One other funny woman I want to talk about is Alli Mauzey. Years ago I left the Cry-Baby workshop saying the following: “The leads aren’t great. Hanke is good. Alli Mauzey is amazing. She is going to get a Tony nomination.” Well, I wasn’t wrong about Mauzey being wonderful onstage at the Marquis Theater, but, alas, the show was slammed and she was forgotten. She has gone on to be Glinda in Wicked (a pretty good gig) and I was also thrilled to see her in the Encores! staging of It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman, singing “You’ve Got Possibilities.” Now she is in the off-Broadway musical Red Eye of Love. I’m not going to comment on the show itself, but I will say, in it, Mauzey again proves herself to be a genius musical theater comedy actress. I wish her all the success in the world. Hopefully she’ll be originating another role on Broadway at some point. If she does, please go catch her.

Broadway League, as a final note, I ask you to listen to the majority of people who support the theater. They are telling you to dim for Joan. Don’t make this a ganze megillah. Admit you were wrong and have the other theater owners join Jujamcyn in dimming their lights tomorrow night.

Follow me on Twitter @CaraJoyDavid and read my other work. Some of it is good.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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10 Thoughts Every Bride Has At The Altar

By Kellee Khalil, Lover.ly

After months of planning, walking down the aisle is a big deal for any bride. And at that point, any number of things could be going through her head, from “who is that sitting in the front row?” to “why am I doing this?” But there are a few at-the-altar thoughts that we think are pretty universal. Read on for our top 10.

1. “Don’t cry, your makeup is going to run.”

2. “Nevermind, this is amazing! Let the tears flow!”

3. “This dress is insanely [hot/itchy/tight/uncomfortable].”

4. “But damn, I look good.”

5. “Wait, does he/she think I look good? I hope so!”

6. “I sure hope the ring fits.”

7. “I’m marrying the hottest person alive.”

8. “I’m so in love!”

9. “Why is my [sister/aunt/friend from college] wearing that dress?”

10. “Actually I don’t care. I love everyone in this room!”

More from Lover.ly:
Get wedding dress inspiration
10 hidden wedding costs you need to account for in your wedding budget
Submit your wedding to Lover.ly

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Style – The Huffington Post
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Édouard Glissant: 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts: Documenta Series 038

Édouard Glissant: 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts: Documenta Series 038

This notebook is Hans Ulrich Obrist''s homage to the French author, poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928-2011). Glissant, one of the most influential figures of the French-speaking Caribbean and a pioneer of postcolonial thinking, called attention to means of global exchange which do not homogenize culture but produce a difference from which new things can emerge. Obrist encountered Glissant at the beginning of his career, through the recommendation of Alighiero Boetti. In his introduction, Obrist creates a multilayered portrait of the intellectual, laying out some of his key concepts: the creolization of the world, archipelic thought, and the museum as archipelago, as well as utopia. These ideas are explored by Glissant in a selection of title pages of his books with drawings, notations and poetic dedications that are reproduced here in facsimile.
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