Notebook of a Return to the Native Land

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Wesleyan University Press, Sep 24, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 66 pages
Césaire's masterpiece that reaches the powerful and overlooked aspects of black culture.

Aimé Césaire's masterpiece, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, is a work of immense cultural significance and beauty. The long poem was the beginning of Césaire's quest for négritude, and it became an anthem of Blacks around the world. With its emphasis on unusual juxtapositions of object and metaphor, manipulation of language into puns and neologisms, and rhythm, Césaire considered his style a "beneficial madness" that could "break into the forbidden" and reach the powerful and overlooked aspects of black culture.

Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith achieve a laudable adaptation of Césaire's work to English by clarifying double meanings, stretching syntax, and finding equivalent English puns, all while remaining remarkably true to the French text. Their treatment of the poetry is marked with imagination, vigor, and accuracy that will clarify difficulties for those already familiar with French, and make the work accessible to those who are not. André Breton's introduction, A Great Black Poet, situates the text and provides a moving tribute to Césaire.

Notebook of a Return to the Native Land is recommended for readers in comparative literature, post-colonial literature, African American studies, poetry, modernism, and French.

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Easily one of the best poet of the all times, he is the Homer our modern times. This book is a historical reference of the Caribbean. It invites us to look at the Caribbean in its most raw and natural form.

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About the author (2001)

Aimé Césaire is most well-known as the co-creator (with Léopold Senghor) of the concept of négritude. A member of the Communist party and active supporter of a progressive Socialist movement in his native Martinique, Césaire wrote Notebook of a Return to the Native Land at the end of World War II. Clayton Eshleman, Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, has published eleven books of poetry since 1968. He has translated works by Antonin Artaud, Bernard Bador, Michel Deguy, Vladimir Holan, and Pablo Neruda. He is also the foremost American translator of César Vallejo (with José Rubia Barcia). Annette Smith, born in Algeria, is an Associate Professor of French at the California Institute of Technology. Eshleman and Smith translated Aimé Césaire: The Collected Poetry (1985).

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