Negritude and postcolonial literature

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Negritude can be defined as an aesthetic and literary movement that began in the 1930s. It centred on the creative and expressive potential of black consciousness, and through its transnational scope became one of the pre-emptive cultural phenomena of the twentieth century. Abiola Irele has proffered a comprehensive definition of Negritude as a ground-breaking literary and cultural phenomenon whose primary accomplishment was the validation and valorization of a wide-ranging black aesthetic. He writes, In its immediate reference, Négritude refers to the literary and ideological movement of French-speaking black intellectuals, which took form as a distinctive and significant aspect of the comprehensive reaction of the black man to the colonial situation, a situation that was felt and perceived by black people in Africa and in the New World as a state of global subjection to the political, social and moral domination of the West. Negritude was engendered and flourished in Paris in the mid 1930s, largely as a response to the implicit superiority of white colonizing cultures; it was led and fed by the writings of two black scholars from the French colonies, Aimé Césaire of Martinique and Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal. Both of these colonial subjects would go on to become major literary figures, and each would play a leading role in the political life of their respective countries of origin; Senghor became the first president of an independent Senegal, and Césaire served simultaneously as mayor of the Martiniquan capital, Fort-de-France, and as Martinique’s representative in the French National Assembly for over forty-five years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781139196116
ISBN (Print)9781107007031
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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