Dracius Searches for Suzanne Césaire

Suzanne Dracius, and R. H. Mitsch. “In Search of Suzanne Césaire’s Garden.” Research in African Literatures 41, no. 1 (2010): 155-165.

“Always feminine, sometimes feminist, and there was no clash, adhering to a double marronnage-as a Martinican who writes and as a woman who writes-I set out to practice the Césairean exhortation “Marronner, il faut marronner!” which Césaire had earlier written to René Depestre to encourage him not to let himself be caught up by the Aragonian constraints of a strict metric. Alongside the bard of Negritude, who, since my first novel, L’autre qui danse, honored me by his appreciation of my writing,3 I permitted myself an impertinence that was not devoid of a certain pertinence: à propos of that other Suzanne-Césaire’s beloved-I reproached the great poet for never having published what his wife had written, even if only at the publishing house Présence africaine where, rather, it existed-a play by Suzanne Césaire of which only the title remains: Youma, aurore de la liberté. The great man had no memory of it. I put the question to him frankly: What happened to the text of that play? Why wasn’t it published? In a very small voice, the great man told me that at the time, it was very difficult, for a woman, to be published. It did me no good to speak to him about de Beauvoir, who had come, at the very same time, into that France of the beginning of the twentieth century, with the help and support of Sartre, certainly, with greater difficulty and much later than Sartre, perhaps, but even so, with success. . . . From all evidence, what was good for Simone was not good for Suzanne….”

Research in African Literatures via Project Muse ($$)

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