Journal of a Homecoming / Cahier d'un retour au pays natal

Aime Cesaire


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Duke University Press
10 November 2017
ISBN: 9780822368960
328 pages

From the publisher

Translated by  N. Gregson Davis

Originally published in 1939, Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal is a landmark of modern French poetry and a founding text of the Négritude movement. This bilingual edition features a new authoritative translation, revised introduction, and extensive commentary, making it a magisterial edition of Césaire’s surrealist masterpiece.


"Davis has not merely translated a great work of modernist poetry and an essential document in postcolonial history; he has created a present-day source of timely dissent." — David B. Hobbs, The Nation

"These new translations, as imperfect as translations must be, strive to give Césaire an authentic voice in English." — Carrie Noland, Modernism/modernity

"This is the best poem ever written." — Juliana Spahr, Artforum

"This edition is without a doubt destined to become a point of reference for every reader of the book as well as for those who dedicate their research to the work of Aimé Césaire, and well beyond the English-speaking world." (translated from the French) — Giuseppe Sofo, Études Littéraires Africaines

"Unparalleled in mid-20th century French literature. . . ." — Tim Keane, Hyperallergic

“Césaire’s classic text, witnessing the performative contradiction of the postcolonial voice, has found its appropriate translator, a Caribbean classicist, as was the poet himself. The translator’s note is a rare teaching aid. This bilingual edition, introduced and annotated by a uniquely masterful critic from Africa, F. Abiola Irele, who did more to establish the Césaire canon than any other critic, brings Homecoming home. An invaluable book for student, teacher, scholar, indeed for the global citizen.” — Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

“Nothing less than the greatest lyrical monument of our time.” — André Breton

“Brilliant, lively, and exact, N. Gregson Davis’s translation swoops and soars through all the ambiguities, obscurities, and revelations that make Césaire’s poem a great landmark of Francophone literature. This is the definitive edition for English readers.” — Christopher L. Miller, author of The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade

“This new translation’s directness immediately compels the reader. It is raw and poetic, and cuts to the heart of the matter. It makes me appreciate anew Césaire’s genius, rendered as it is here in his seductive language.” — Françoise Lionnet, author of The Known and the Uncertain: Creole Cosmopolitics of the Indian Ocean