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)

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?


All are very welcome to the workshop. If you would like to come, please email to receive an electronic copy of the relevant poems.

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