with Bachir Diagne, Romuald Fonkoua , Alex Gil, Daniele Lorenzini and Francoisesides
Aimé Césaire's encounter with Nietzsche - in his own words one of his essential points of reference - nourished a vitality, an outrage, a passion for tragedy, for art, for knowledge and politics, in sum a will to power that should enrich his poems and play but also promotes its anti-colonialism and political struggles.
Dionysus's revenge on Apollo: this subject off Birth of a tragedy Broken in Césaire's poetics and plays and shot through his 1944 manifesto, Poetry and knowledge - a text that would confirm and fuel Césaire's revolt against French colonialism and racism, which would take the name Négritude. Nietzsche's privilege of the Dionysian element in early Greek tragedy, Aristotelian poetics about scientific facts, myths and becoming about doer and being - the inspired Césaire, weapons and intellectual ammunition, which he used to withstand the oppressive, prevailing discourse of science Progress associated with white supremacy in the Antilles and the forms of conventional rationality that dominated philosophical discourse in the West.
Scientific progress, Césaire would call impoverished knowledge that only an impoverished person can bring us. As for the Kantian philosophy, Césaire would write, the asylum seekers are all there. And uniquely restrictive. But Césaire would go further. In contrast to scientific knowledge or western conventional rationality, wrote Césaire, it is only the revolutionary image that enables man to break through the boundaries:
Césaire gives voice to the radical potential in Nietzsche's writings on tragedy and poetics, a radical potential that would ultimately nourish an entire artistic and political movement, negation, and motivate decolonization. With Césaire and Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001) it would produce a unique combination of self-determination without nationalism or state sovereignty - a distinctive view of decolonization and democratic federation, which Gary Wilder brilliantly analyzes under the heading Freedom Time.
From the poetic arts, from the Dionysian, Césaire drew much of the vitality and poetic knowledge necessary to withstand colonial and western rule. In this sense, Césaire's writings demonstrate not only the influence of his early encounters with Nietzschean, but rather how much more - in a revolutionary way - can be done with these early fragments and aphorisms. And so it is Césaire's art form and creativity, his poetic knowledge and political practice that we can turn to for our own inspiration and resistance in these dark times.
[Read the full article here. © Bernard E. Harcourt]
The Negritude criticism of colonial modernity in the interwar and postwar period was largely based on the vitalistic philosophies of Nietzsche, Bergson and Heidegger. Many of the central figures, including Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor and Édouard Glissant, were inspired by these countercurrents of Western thought. Above all, Césaire and Senghor took over the ideas of Dionysian and Apollonian from Nietzsches Birth of Tragedy in their aesthetic philosophy. In this session we will examine this conversation with Nietzsche's thoughts on tragedy.