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"Césaire's essay stands as an important document in the development of third world consciousness—a process in which [he] played a prominent role."
This classic work, first published in France in 1955, profoundly influenced the generation of scholars and activists at the forefront of liberation struggles in
Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Nearly twenty years later,
when published for the first time in English, Discourse on Colonialism
inspired a new generation engaged in the Civil Rights, Black Power, and anti-war movements and has sold more than 75,000 copies to date.
Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of "progress"
and "civilization" upon encountering the "savage," "uncultured," or
"primitive." Here, Césaire reaffirms African values, identity, and culture, and their relevance, reminding us that "the relationship between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society." An interview with Césaire by the poet
René Depestre is also included.
|A Poetics of Anticolonialism||7|
|Discourse on Colonialism||29|
|An Interview with Aime Cesaire||79|
If you're interested in post-colonial issues, this book stands out for the link it draws between the racism and violence of the colonial era and the racism and violence of totalitarianism in the Nazi Germany era. It's also an interesting mix of genres, treating historical issues with the stylistic panache of a writer who is a great poet. I read a book by Hannah Arendt on similar themes, (The Origins of Totalitarianism) which I would recommend also, but I preferred Cesaire's book because it was more succint and at times even funnier, which might seem like an odd quality to observe given the topic. A charismatic and insightful writer who was also a politician in his native Martinique. I wish we could have someone of his insight in our congress today!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.