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Negritude Women

2002
Author:

T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

Negritude Women

Rediscovers the crucial role that women played in the influential Negritude movement.

The Negritude movement, which signaled the awakening of a pan-African consciousness among black French intellectuals, has been understood almost exclusively in terms of the contributions of its male founders. This masculine genealogy has completely overshadowed the central role played by French-speaking black women in its creation and evolution. In Negritude Women, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting offers a long-overdue corrective, revealing the contributions made by the women who were not merely integral to the success of the movement, but often in its vanguard.

Negritude Women is a unique work that makes invaluable contributions to women’s studies, Africana studies, and cultural politics. T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting sets a new standard for interdisciplinary studies.

Joy James, author of Transcending the Talented Tenth: Black Leaders and American Intellectuals and Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture

The Negritude movement, which signaled the awakening of a pan-African consciousness among black French intellectuals, has been understood almost exclusively in terms of the contributions of its male founders: Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and Léon G. Damas. This masculine genealogy has completely overshadowed the central role played by French-speaking black women in its creation and evolution. In Negritude Women, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting offers a long-overdue corrective, revealing the contributions made by the women who were not merely integral to the success of the movement, but often in its vanguard.

Through such disparate tactics as Lacascade’s use of Creole expressions in her French prose writings, the literary salon and journal founded by the Martinique-born Nardal sisters, and Roussy-Césaire’s revolutionary blend of surrealism and Negritude in the pages of Tropiques, the journal she founded with her husband, these four remarkable women made vital contributions. In exploring their influence on the development of themes central to Negritude-black humanism, the affirmation of black peoples and their cultures, and the rehabilitation of Africa-Sharpley-Whiting provides the movement’s first genuinely inclusive history.

Negritude Women

T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting teaches French, film studies, comparative literature, and women studies, and directs the African American Studies and Research Center, at Purdue University.

Negritude Women

Negritude Women is a unique work that makes invaluable contributions to women’s studies, Africana studies, and cultural politics. T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting sets a new standard for interdisciplinary studies.

Joy James, author of Transcending the Talented Tenth: Black Leaders and American Intellectuals and Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture

Negritude Women is the first critical study of the writings of Suzanne Roussy Cesaire and the Nardal sisters, Jane and Paulette. The time is ripe for a reexamination of the Negritude movement, and Sharpley-Whiting is the perfect person to undertake it. She brilliantly challenges widely held assumptions about its significance for us today.

Robert Bernasconi, editor (with Tommy Lee Lott) of Idea of Race

Negritude Women

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Caliban’s Women

1.Race Signs of the Interwar Times: Pan-Noirisme and La Dépêche Africaine
2.Jane Nardal: A New Race Spirit and the Francophone New Negro
3.Les Soeurs Nardal and the Clamart Salon: Content and Context of La Revue du monde noir,1931–1932
4.Paulette Nardal: Antillean Literature and Race Consciousness
5.Suzanne Césaire: Tropiques,Negritude, Surrealism, 1941–1945

appendix: edited and annotated translations

T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting and Georges Van Den Abbeele
Black Internationalism (1928)
Jane Nardal
Exotic Puppets (1928)
Jane Nardal
Acts of Grace (1929)
Paulette Nardal
In Exile (1929)
Paulette Nardal
The Awakening of Race Consciousness among
Black Students (1932)
Paulette Nardal
Letter from Lieutenant de Vaisseau Bayle, Chief of Information Services, to the Editor of the Review Tropiques (May 10, 1943)
Response from Tropiques (May 12, 1943)
The Malaise of a Civilization (1942)
Suzanne Césaire
The Great Camouflage (1945)
Suzanne Césaire

Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index