Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

5-1991

Journal or Book Title

Postmodern Culture

Volume

1

Issue

3

Abstract

Howling words of fresh blood to spark the sacred fire of the world, Aime Cesaire in 1939 claimed kinship with madness and cannibalism. In Cesaire's view, colonialism and western rationality had imposed a falsely barbaric identity --or, in effect, a non-identity--upon the peoples that Europe had uprooted, subjugated, enslaved and otherwise mastered. Against the Eurocentrist representation of American otherness, Cesaire, within his poem's ritual of parthenogenesis, prophetically identified with that otherness, subsuming it into his apocalyptic redefinition of Afro-Antillean selfhood. By such iconoclastic gestures, Cesaire and numerous other writers of the region have demonstrated the manner in which poetic self-identification can mean empowerment in providing the starting point for resisting the cultural annihilation of colonialism. My aim in this essay will be to account for some of the ways in which Cesaire's "cannibalisme tenace" has indeed persisted, tenaciously and obsessively, in modern Caribbean narratives concerned with the question of critiquing and constructing a post-colonial cultural identity.

Comments

This article is from Postmodern Culture 1 (1991). Posted with permission.

Rights

Readers may use portions of this work in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. copyright law. In addition, subscribers and members of subscribed institutions may use the entire work for any internal noncommercial purpose but, other than one copy sent by email, print, or fax to one person at another location for that individual's personal use, distribution of this article outside of a subscribed institution without express written permission from either the author or the Johns Hopkins University Press is expressly forbidden.

Copyright Owner

Eugenio D. Matibag

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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