• Négritude's Contretemps: The Coining and Reception of Aimé Césaire's Neologism

    Author(s):
    breilly (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Subject(s):
    Francophone literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6WV2K
    Abstract:
    Even if debates continue over the meaning and legacy of Aimé Césaire's négritude, current scholarship seems secure about the origin of the word: Césaire coined the term in 1935 from the word nègre and the suffix -itude. But this simple story masks a complex lexicology beset by contretemps. Césaire purposefully syncopated temporalities in creating the word négritude, and the present article provides a fuller account of its etymology, bringing to light texts Césaire may have been alluding to in his coinage. It also disputes some misconceptions about the word's provenance, in particular that the word was invented by Benjamin Rush. This article: 1. Debunks a long-standing myth that an American Founding Father, Banjamin Rush, coined negritude more than a century before Césaire 2. Reveals the source for the title of Césaire’s 1935 essay in which he coined "négritude" 3. Suggests that a 16th-century text might have inspired his formation of the word 4. Revisits the -itude / -ité debate between Césaire and Senghor to show why Césaire chose -itude and the particular effects of that suffix on contemporary French thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Guéhenno
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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