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Decolonising the IntellectualPolitics, Culture, and Humanism at the End of the French Empire$
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Jane Hiddleston

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380321

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380321.001.0001

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Aimé Césaire From Poetic Insurrection to Humanist Ethics

Aimé Césaire From Poetic Insurrection to Humanist Ethics

(p.75) 2 Aimé Césaire From Poetic Insurrection to Humanist Ethics
Decolonising the Intellectual

Jane Hiddleston

Liverpool University Press

This chapter begins by exploring the contradictions in Césaire's political and cultural writings. The main body of the chapter goes on to explore the political force of the Cahier d’un retour au pays natal and its attempt to use poetry in order to invent some form of solidarity or collectivity which would fuel in turn the poet's anti-colonial revolt. To this end, Césaire oscillates between affirming the Martinican's belonging to the specific category of negritude on the one hand, and seeking to transcend that specificity in a celebration of universal humanity on the other. This apparent vacillation is conceived as an indication of the dynamism of Césaire's versions of negritude and humanism and his resistance to some of the essentialisms and utopias of Senghor's work. Moreover, despite the disillusionment expressed in Césaire's tragedies, there nevertheless remain here glimpses of a possible negotiation, of a new form of political dialogue.

Keywords:   Césaire, negritude, poetry, ethics, humanism

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