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By Gregson Davis

Goal? C?saire is the simplest identified poet within the French Caribbean. during this research Gregson Davis examines C?saire's amazing twin occupation as author and elected baby-kisser. As probably the most profound critics of colonialism, C?saire, the stated inventor of the well-known time period "negritude", has been a highly influential determine in shaping the modern discourse at the postcolonial main issue. Gregson Davis' account of C?saire's highbrow progress is grounded in a cautious examining of the poetry, prose and drama that illustrates the entire variety and intensity of his literary success.

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On the more strictly ethnographic side of the equation, a great From island to metropolis: the making ofa poet French expedition making collections for museums, the "Mission Dakar-Djibouti" of the early 1930s, served to enhance the profile of the artistic legacy of "phantom Africa" (to borrow the expression of the ethnologist and man of letters Michel Leiris, who accompanied the expedition and recorded his experiences in a published journal). 19 Thus in Paris the older Musee Trocadero, whose notorious jumble of art objects from around the world epitomized Clifford's "ethnographic surreal," was transformed into the more rationally organized Musee de l'Homme in 1938 - seven years after the mammoth "International Colonial Exhibition" (held in Paris) had advertised its motley array of artistic trophies.

A graphic representation of his commitment to what he came to see as the liberating function of surrealism (his preferred brand of modernism) may be observed in the stance he took in a public dialogue with the Marxist Haitian poet Rene Depestre. A brief look at some key passages from the poem "The verb 'to maroon 5 " ("Le verbe marronner"), in which a part of that dialogue is immortalized, will function as a coda to this sketch of the bildung of the poet of negritude. Though written a decade and a half later than Cahier (it was first published by Presence Africaine in 1955 under a different title), it re-affirms an aesthetic that was already implicit in the form of the earlier groundbreaking poem.

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. The anthropologist and cultural historian James Clifford has furnished us with the most insightful description to date of the intellectual collage that made the convergence between surrealist practice (both verbal and visual) and European ethnography both probable and fecund at this epoch.

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