Caribbean Literary Giant Aimé Césaire Gets His Due

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Patrice Lamumba in 'A Season in the Congo'. (Photo Credit: Young Vic London/Johan Persson)

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Patrice Lamumba in ‘A Season in the Congo’. (Photo Credit: Young Vic London/Johan Persson)

Writing for The Root, Lindsay Johns discusses how a new production of A Season in the Congo helps bring a wider audience to the works of Martiniquan Aimé Césaire. Johns writes:

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Martinican polymath Aimé Césaire. If anyone truly deserves the title of Caribbean Renaissance man, it’s Césaire. Poet, playwright, co-founder of the influential literary movement négritude, politician and mayor of Fort de France, Martinique, for nearly 56 years, Césaire was a prodigious talent whose peerless intellect and indefatigable industry made him a quasi-divinity in his native land.

For more than half a century, Césaire bestrode the Francophone literary world like a colossus, an intellectual behemoth and proud defender of the African roots of Caribbean culture at a time when black self-hate was routinely engendered by colonial education.

That such an important figure of literature and politics in the 20th century can be so little known in the Anglophone world is both a tragedy to letters and also to humanity, and something that the scintillating new production of ‘A Season in the Congo’ at the Young Vic Theatre in London — for the first time ever in the U.K. and in English — will hopefully go a long way to rectifying.”

Read the article in its entirety on The Root.

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