Library Exhibits

Aimé Césaire

Memorial Symposium and Exhibit

commemorating the life and work of Aimé Césaire, the foremost Black French intellectual-statesman-writer of the 20th and 21st centuries

This exhibit was available from March 30 to April 30, 2009 in the John Hay Library.

Aimé Césaire was the foremost Black French intellectual-statesman-writer of the 20th and 21st centuries. Co-founder of the négritude school of literature in the 1930s, parliamentarian to the National Assembly in Paris for nearly 5 decades, and author of 16 books, plays, and poetry collections, Césaire's recent demise is understandably mourned by Francophones throughout the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. But Aimé Césaire also inspired generations of American students, educators, and humanists who, either in translation or in the original, have read and pondered his inimitable poems and prose. The exhibit, and the poetry reading with which it opened, was designed to offer the visitor a sense of the literary wealth and political possibilities that this extraordinary man created out of the culturally rich but economically impoverished Martinique into which he was born ninety-five years ago, and which he left, for the last time, on April 17, 2008.

As lead-up to the Memorial Symposium hosted by the Watson Institute on April 17, a Commemorating Aimé Césaire exhibit showcased the Brown Library's collection of Césaire's oeuvres and works on the French Caribbean, along with other objets d'art and memorabilia (on loan from faculty) that are reminiscent of Césaire and his native island. A display in the John Hay Library foyer was dedicated to President Ruth Simmons who explored The Poetic Language of Aimé Césaire in her Ph. D. dissertation completed at Harvard University in 1973.

Sponsored by: Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Office of Cultural Services of the Consulate of France (Boston), the journal French Culture, Politics and Society, Departments of Africana Studies, French Studies, and Comparative Literature, Alliance Française of Providence, Brown University Library

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