CMSA Workshop: "Aimé Césaire’s Soleil Cou Coupé: Negritude and/or Primitivism and/or Surrealism and/or Modernism?"

When:6 Aug 2014, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Webster 139, UNSW
Who:Centre for Modernism Studies In Australia, Ben Etherington (UWS)
cmsaworkshop1

In this workshop we will look closely at a selection of poems from Aimé Césaire’s first collection of short poetry, Soleil Cou Coupé (which followed the long poem Cahier d’un retour au pays natal, 1939). I will introduce these in the context of a study I am completing on ‘literary primitivism’, outlining the broad thesis of the study and the important place that Césaire’s work holds in it. I will also circulate revisions to one or two of the poems from a 1961 republication, which may or may not betray the inflection of his poetic idiom in conditions of decolonisation. In the discussion I would like us to focus on the salience of four different organising concepts in relation to this work: ‘negritude’, ‘primitivism’, ‘surrealism’ and ‘modernism’. All seem relevant in some way, yet in what way and with what purchase? Are they to be considered as circles of a Venn diagramme, with this collection sitting at the centre? Or do they express different aesthetic and political dimensions of the work? Or something else again?

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All are very welcome to the workshop. If you would like to come, please email s.pryor@unsw.edu.au to receive an electronic copy of the relevant poems.

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