By Gregson Davis
Objective? C?saire is the easiest recognized poet within the French Caribbean. during this examine Gregson Davis examines C?saire's amazing twin occupation as author and elected flesh presser. As some of the most profound critics of colonialism, C?saire, the said inventor of the well-known time period "negritude", has been a highly influential determine in shaping the modern discourse at the postcolonial crisis. Gregson Davis' account of C?saire's highbrow progress is grounded in a cautious studying of the poetry, prose and drama that illustrates the total variety and intensity of his literary success.
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In the interim - and at the risk of grossly schematizing a very complex bundle of "influences" - we may usefully locate his inchoate aesthetic agenda at the interface between artistic "modernism"17 and black consciousness movements. The nature of this cultural and historical interface cannot be fully recuperated without reference to the visual arts. As we shall have occasion to demonstrate throughout this study, art and literature are closely intertwined in the aesthetic theory and practice of contemporary verbal artists, such as the surrealist poets Andre Breton, Robert Desnos and Benjamin Peret.
14 AimeCesaire the eve of his return to the island of his birth? The members of the French poetic canon that spoke most directly to him may be recovered in the robust programmatic piece he composed in 1944, Poesie et connaissance ("Poetry and Knowledge"),16 where the line of succession of genuine poets includes, not surprisingly, some of the major precursors of surrealism: Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarme, Lautreamont and Apollinaire. In the chapters that follow we shall describe, with reference to specific poems, the peculiar form that Cesairean surrealism was to assume in the years of exploration during and immediately after the war.
In its disjointed style and apocalyptic tone, Cesaire's first poem seems to erupt onto the page with all the violence of a volcano, as layers of images are superimposed like so many successive flows of lava. The comparison would no doubt appeal to Cesaire, who has described himself as "Peleean" after the famous Martinican volcano, Mt. Pelee, which arose from its slumber in 1902 to obliterate the former capital city of the island colony, St. Pierre. " There is ample evidence that Cesaire has always labored to polish his verse with a care that belies the neoRomantic myth of pure spontaneity.
Aime Cesaire by Gregson Davis