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Césaire, Aimé (1913–2008)

Magda Romanska


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Aimé Césaire, a writer, activist, and playwright, was born on June 25, 1913 in Martinique. In 1932 he moved to Paris, where he attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. In 1934 he published the essay “L'Etudiant noir” (The Black Student), in which the word négritude was used for the first time. In 1935 Césaire was accepted into the Ecole Normale Supérieure and he became actively involved in the Négritude movement , which aimed to liberate African and Caribbean countries from colonial rule. In 1939, on the eve of World War II, Césaire returned to Martinique, where he began teaching at the Lycée Victor Schoelcher. At that time he also traveled and lectured in Haiti. In 1945 he became a mayor of Fort-de-France and deputy of the Communist Party to the National Assembly. The new position allowed him to request that Martinique and Guadeloupe become departments of France; the request, although controversial, was granted in 1946. In 1948 Césaire published his landmark Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie négre et malgache , introduced by Sartre's essay “Black Orpheus.” Like many intellectuals of his time, Césaire was initially drawn to communism as a solution to colonialism, but he eventually became disillusioned with it in 1956 after the Russian invasion of Hungary . In 1956 he also participated in the First International Congress of Black Writers in Paris. Césaire's most important political ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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