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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Negritude: A Literary Perspective
Author:Sharma, Veena
Periodical:Africa Quarterly
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Ethnic and Race Relations
History and Exploration
Abstract:Negritude was a response by intellectuals from Francophone Africa and other parts of the world to condescending attitudes by colonial rulers. It was born in the student journal L'Étudiant Noir founded in Paris in 1934 by Leopold Senghor, Leon Damas (from French Guiana), and Aimé Césaire (Martinique). The term itself was first used in 1939 in Césaire's book 'Cahier d'un Retour au Pays Natal'. It was supposed to sum up the quintessence of Africanness as opposed to Europeanness: emotion versus reason; nature versus technology; and collectivisim versus individualism. It was more anti-colonial than it was proletarian. Political freedom and cultural liberty were regarded as two sides of the same coin, namely, the one was essential to the other. It has been criticized for its binary racial juxtaposition by such writers as Ezekiel Mphalele, Wole Soyinka, and Ayi Kwei Armah. One of its major strategies has been to use the past as a tool to build up a future based on a respectable foundation of tradition (be this real or imaginary). The author feels that it has been a contribution of permanent value to world and African literatures. It laid the foundations for what Jahnheinz Jahn has called 'neo-African' culture. It has been a crucial stage in the growth of psychological self-sufficiency. It has provided the legacy of a common root. Ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]