A Season in the Congo

Aimé Césaire

Translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


5 x 8 inches, 168 pp. October 2010

ISBN : 9780857424877

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A Season in the Congo recounts the tragic death of Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Congo Republic and an African nationalist hero. The play follows Lumumba’s efforts to free the Congolese from Belgian rule and the political struggles that led to his assassination in 1961. Césaire depicts Lumumba as a sympathetic Christ-like figure whose conscious martyrdom reflects his self-sacrificing humanity and commitment to pan-Africanism. A revolutionary artist and lifelong political activist, Césaire’s forceful opposition to imperialism, racism and the assimilation of Western culture among non-Western people has exerted a profound influence on contemporary world literature. 

Aimé Césaire was born on 25 June 1913, in Basse-Pointe, Martinique, a French colony in the Caribbean. Césaire won a scholarship to travel to Paris in the early 1930s and studied literature and philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure. Césaire is a recipient of the International Nâzim Hikmet Poetry Award, the second winner in its history. His volumes of poetry include Putting in Fetters, Lost Bodies, Decapitated Sun and Miraculous Arms. His plays include The Tempest and The Tragedy of King Christophe, and he is also the author of Discourse on Colonialism, a classic text of French political literature, and helped establish the literary and ideological movement negritude, a term Césaire defined as ‘the simple recognition of the fact that one is black, the acceptance of this fact and of our destiny as blacks, of our history and culture’.


Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, and author of numerous works including In Other Worlds (1987), The Postcolonial Critic (1990), Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999) and Death of a Discipline (2003).

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