Aimé Césaire

(1913 – 2008)

© Présence Africaine

Aimé Césaire (26 June 1913 – 17 April 2008) was a French poet, author, and politician. He was “one of the founders of the Négritude movement in Francophone literature” and coined the word négritude in French. He founded the Parti progressiste martiniquais in 1958, and served in the French National Assembly from 1945 to 1993 and as President of the Regional Council of Martinique from 1983 to 1988. His works include the book-length poem Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (1939), Une Tempête, a response to Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, and Discours sur le colonialisme (Discourse on Colonialism, 1955), an essay describing the strife between the colonizers and the colonized. His works have been translated into many languages.

Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (first published in 1939, with two revised editions in 1947 and the current final edition in 1956), variously translated as Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, Return to My Native Land, or Journal of a Homecoming, is a book-length poem by Martinican writer Aimé Césaire, considered his masterwork, that mixes poetry and prose to express his thoughts on the cultural identity of black Africans in a colonial setting.

According to Bonnie Thomas, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal was a turning point in French Caribbean literature: “Césaire’s groundbreaking poem laid the foundations for a new literary style in which Caribbean writers came to reject the alienating gaze of the Other in favour of their own Caribbean interpretation of reality.”

André Breton called the poem “nothing less than the greatest lyrical monument of our times.”

Publication: Présence Africaine, 1956
Language: French
Rights: World rights to Présence Africaine
Genre: Poetry
Extent: 92 p.
Most recent translations and deals: Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), Catalan, Japanese, English…



Discourse on Colonialism serves as a foundational text of postcolonial literature that discusses what Césaire described as the appalling affair of the European civilizing mission. Rather than elevating the non-Western world, the colonizers de-civilize the colonized, states Césaire.

Through his writing and poetry, Cesaire represents a decisive influence for African and Black American intellectuals in their fight against colonialism & acculturation.

Publication: Présence Africaine, 1955
Language: French
Rights: World rights to Présence Africaine
Genre: Politics
Extent: 58 p.
Most Recent Deals: Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), English, Lingala
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