13 January 2011

Aimé Césaire and the Panthéon, Paris

Aimé Césaire - who is perhaps most noted for his key role in the négritude movement - was born in Martinique, where he died in April 2008 at the age of 94. Moving his remains to the Panthéon in Paris was discussed, but it was thought in France that that would be seen as a 'manifestation of neo-colonialist arrogance'. So a compromise has now been reached: he will be remembered by a plaque in the Panthéon this April.

Probably Césaire's best known work is his forty-page narrative poem Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939), translated as Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, which is a surrealist rebel yell that stirred André Breton.

This is Césaire's obituary in The Times, and this a useful biography from The Poetry Foundation.

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