André Breton called Césaire’s Cahier ‘nothing less than the greatest lyrical Notebook of a Return to My Native Land () is the foundation stone of. Aime Cesaire’s epic poem “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land” can be difficult to decipher due to Cesaire’s unusual usage of metaphor. This is one of the classic texts of the Négritude movement, which valorized black culture and identity. In this part of the long poem, Césaire, who is Martinican.
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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return lwnd Book Page. Aime Cesaire’s masterpiece, Notebook of a Return to the Native Landis a work of immense cultural significance and beauty.
The long poem was the beginning of Cesaire’s quest for negritude, and it became an anthem of Blacks notrbook the world.
With its emphasis on unusual juxtapositions of object and metaphor, manipulation of language into puns and neologisms, and rhythm, Ce Aime Cesaire’s masterpiece, Notebook of a Return to the Native Landis a work of immense cultural significance and beauty.
With its emphasis on unusual juxtapositions of object and metaphor, manipulation of language into puns and neologisms, and rhythm, Cesaire 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 Cesaire’s work to English by clarifying double meanings, stretching syntax, and finding equivalent Refurn 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. 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.
Paperback66 pages. Published September 24th by Wesleyan first published To see what your friends cesairs of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Notebook of a Return to the Native Landplease sign up.
Project MUSE – Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (review)
Be the first to ask a question about Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. Lists with This Book. Oct 13, Rowena rated it it was amazing Shelves: It definitely wasn’t cheery and i “Vainly in the tepidity of your throat you ripen for the twentieth time the same indigent solace that we are mumblers of words. It definitely wasn’t cheery and it dealt with tough subject matter.
However, there was so much power and imagery in Cesaire’s words it was kind of hard not to be impressed by his use of metaphor and rhythm, especially in a subject that is close to my heart: The poem is many things; for one, it’s an angry attack on colonialism and slavery after Cesaire returned to Martinique after living in France. It also issues a wake-up call to people affected by colonialism not to accept their lot in life.
Elements of the negritude movement are very evident as well. Black identity and racism are also explored. Very emotional and heartfelt. In a way, I understand how Cesaire felt. Returning to one’s native land after spending years abroad, it is only natural to wonder about the apathy of the locals, especially with the new knowledge and experiences one has gained abroad. This can lead to frustration, as this poem shows. My lips shall speak for miseries that have no mouth, my voice shall be the liberty of those who languish in the dungeon of despair… And above all my body as well as my soul, beware of folding your arms in the sterile attitude of spectator, for life is not a spectacle, for a sea of pain is not a proscenium.
View all 4 comments. Haiti where negritude rose to its feet for the first time and said it believed in its own humanity; and the comic little tail of Florida where they are just finishing strangling a negro; Africa gigantically caterpillaring as far as the Spanish foot of Europe; the nakedness of Africa where the scythe of Death swings wide. Cesaire was born in the French Caribbean country of Martinique.
He earned a scholarship to Ceswire L Haiti where negritude rose notebpok its feet for the first noteboko and said it believed in its own humanity; and the comic little tail of Florida where they are just finishing strangling a negro; Africa gigantically caterpillaring as far as the Spanish foot of Europe; the nakedness of Africa where the scythe of Death swings wide.
Cesaire returned to Martinique in and taught at Lycee Schoelcher.
One of his students would play an important role in the French colony of Algeria, Frantz Fanon. Cesaire played a role in his country’s politics as a member of the Communist Party and later forming the Parti Progressiste Martinuqais.
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [excerpt]
Cesaire started writing Return to my Native Land Cahier d’un retour au pays natal in while while still in France. As a single poem it is rather long, but as a book it is short. Cesaire captures his feelings and emotions on returning to cesaird home country after studying in France.
It covers square miles and supports a population well under half a million people. Its history is typical of a Caribbean colony. Its ,and people were beaten down and expelled from the island.
They are replaced with African slaves to work the new sugar plantations. The island suffered as a single commodity, sugar, economy which eventually lead to the freeing of the slaves in In Martinique became an Overseas Department of France and finally simply a department in It still relies heavily on French aid.
Cesaire was active in notenook and a communist for sometime. Some explanation communist is needed to understand exactly what it meant at the time.
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
Countries like Martinique were under colonial rule and had little if any autonomy as a nation. There was also the much the same problems with the inhabitants of African descent after slavery ended, much the same as in the United States.
The enlightened act of lamd the slaves lnad not followed up with assurances of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Cesaire makes this clear with the use of the derogatory term for a black man. Communism, as an ideal, took root in these environments. The promise of removing the yoke of colonial powers and the equality it promised all men was quite enticing. Here you have people who are being exploited and controlled by power thousands of miles away under a system called capitalism.
To these people capitalism is not working so that simple leaves the alternative system. Their concerns are cesairf and not exporting world wide revolution. They bative desired freedom. Once you get a feel for the setting, which is very foreign for many, Cesaire’s words take on new meanings and a cause. It is not difficult to see the similarity in Cesaire and Fanon.
Their styles differ the sledgehammer of Fanon and the velvet hammer Cesaire, but both seek to find identity beyond colonialism. Cesaire write in a mix of prose and poetry all of it lyrical in rhythm and surreal. At cesxire I felt as if I was on a raft in the ocean rocking on the rhythm and intensities of Cesaire’s voice.
Project MUSE – The Original Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
The poem has a great feel nptebook it that helps convey the pointed political and cultural messages. The lyrical feel reminded of reading the leaves of grass.
You can lose yourself simply in the rhythm on the words. Here though, the message is as important as the art. Cesaire is more than just a voice calling for justice or the voice of protest. He is a French and captures that particular style that makes French poetry unique. His literary style is classified as negritude a notwbook of colonial racism and a term developed by Cesaire.
Sarte said negritude is the Hegelian dialectic to racism. This is an interesting and unique look into colonial life and racism in a country other than America. Ceasaire writing is impressive.
Berger and Bostock’s translation seems to be spot on. Steerforth Press has done a great service re-releasing this translation. The only thing that would have made it better would be a more detailed introduction for those without the historical background. At the end of the small hours: Life flat on its face, miscarried dreams and nowhere to put them, the river of life listless in its hopeless bed, not rising or falling, unsure of its flow, lamentably empty, the heavy impartial shadow of boredom creeping over the quality of all things, the air stagnant, unbroken by the brightness of a single bird.
But it was the distance to his ‘native land’ that allowed him to get closer notebool his roots apparently. A term which turned into a synonym for the celebration of shared black identity and self-confidence as a counter to French colonialist racism and a legacy of consequential self-hatred.
I don’t think I’ve ever quite read anything alike. It is deturn angry attack on noteobok, a comment on identity shaped through the experience of slavery and oppression yet at times notebbook is also playfully gentle and stunningly cfsaire in the way it evokes a landscape – inner and outer, the way it plays with language and let’s the words be driven forward by if hypnotic rhythm that at times has the strength of a tidal wave.
I want to rediscover the secret of great speech and of great burning. I want to say storm. I want to say river. I want to say tornado. I yhe to say leaf, I want to say tree. I want to be soaked by every rainfall, moistened by every dew.
As frenetic blood rolls on the slow current of the eye, I want to roll words like maddened horses like new children like clotted milk like curfew like traces of a temple like precious stones buried deep enough to daunt all miners.
Cexaire poem brims with a wondrous catalogue of geographical, zoological, biological terms like noctiluca, coccinella, syzygy, uvula and holothurian to just name a few, which must have been a challenge for any translator I believe. John Berger and Anne Bostock, both language artists who translated this beautifully often decided to replace those terms with more familiar, less alienating synonyms, if available.
It certainly helps making the text more approachable. I wonder whether by doing so, they’ve risked for those passages to loose some of their strange appeal and their deliberate? But this is a minor question mark. What remains is a sense of having discovered a poetic treasure, and the certainty to be picking this up time and time again.