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The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire

Written by Aimé Césaire | Translted by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman

The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire promises to jump start a reassessment of Césaire’s importance as a twentieth-century poet. It is the only bilingual edition in any language to date…” — Pluton Magazine

The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire gathers all of Cesaire’s celebrated verse into one bilingual edition. The French portion is comprised of newly established first editions of Césaire’s poetic œuvre made available in French in 2014 under the title Poésie, Théâtre, Essais et Discours, edited by A. J. Arnold and an international team of specialists. To prepare the English translations, the translators started afresh from this French edition. Included here are translations of first editions of the poet’s early work, prior to political interventions in the texts after 1955, revealing a new understanding of Cesaire’s aesthetic and political trajectory. A truly comprehensive picture of Cesaire’s poetry and poetics is made possible thanks to a thorough set of notes covering variants, historical and cultural references, and recurring figures and structures, a scholarly introduction and a glossary. This book provides a new cornerstone for readers and scholars in 20th century poetry, African diasporic literature, and postcolonial studies.

About the author Aimé Césaire:

AIMÉ CÉSAIRE (1913–2008) was best known as the co-creator (with Léopold Senghor) of the concept of négritude. CLAYTON ESHLEMAN is the author of over one hundred books, and the major American translator of Césaire, as well as César Vallejo and Antonin Artaud. A. JAMES ARNOLD is emeritus professor of French at the University of Virginia. He edited A History of Literature in the Caribbean and authored Modernism and Negritude: The Poetry and Poetics of Aimé Césaire.

“This bilingual edition offers three inestimable gifts: Césaire’s poetry in its original, unrevised form, rich details on the contexts of publication, and new translations into English that account for both. A treasure!” —Richard Watts, author of Packaging Post/Coloniality: The Manufacture of Literary Identity in the Francophone World

“The scholarship and talent of A. J. Arnold and Clayton Eshleman have once again firmly placed Aimé Césaire on the map of world literature and introduced us to new readings of a master poet.”—Maryse Condé, writer and professor emeritus, Columbia University

“This unobtrusively scholarly bilingual edition serves Césaire and his readers supremely well. Its forensic approach exposes the diachronic layering of Césaire's poetics, most notably the sedimentary traces of tensions and torsions between the poetic and political imperatives.”—Mary Gallagher, professor of French and Francophone Studies, University College Dublin

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