Rene, Louis, and Leopold: Senghorian Negritude as a Black Humanism

Rene, Louis, and Leopold: Senghorian Negritude as a Black Humanism

MFS Modern Fiction Studies
Volume 51, Number 4, Winter 2005
pages 921-935
E-ISSN: 1080-658X Print ISSN: 0026-7724
DOI: 10.1353/mfs.2006.0008

Michel Fabre

Randall Cherry

Jonathan P. (Paul) Eburne, Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Pennsylvania State University

Drawing from archival documentation of their long-standing literary relationship, this essay examines the correspondences between the negritude writings of LĂ©opold SĂ©dar Senghor and the assimilationist thought of his literary precursor RenĂ© Maran. It traces the history of Senghorian negritude as a theory of cultural intermixture or mĂ©tissage. As Fabre demonstrates, Senghor’s ideas about the ethical and political significance of cultural hybridity, which emerged from his intellectual relations with transnational black figures of the 1920s and 1930s, aimed to counter biologically-rooted forms of racial essentialism with a notion of blackness—what Senghor referred to as the “black soul”—considered as a set of cultural properties.

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