Maryse Condé: « Césaire’s ‘négritude’ is just a beautiful dream »

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In “La négritude de Césaire n’est qu’un beau rêve,” Annick Cojean (Le Monde) writes an article based on her interview with Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé (subscription needed for access full article). The writer is to receive, on Sunday, in Stockholm, the alternative Nobel Prize for Literature, a prize awarded by a new academy composed of Swedish intellectuals.

Born in Guadeloupe in 1937, writer Maryse Conde is to receive, on Sunday, December 9, in Stockholm the alternative Nobel Prize for literature, a prize awarded by a new academy composed of Swedish intellectuals.

An international consecration for the author of Ségou (Tome 1, Laffont, 1984, volume 2, Laffont, 1985) who was the first president of the National Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery and who taught for twenty years in the United States.

I would not have arrived [come so far] if . . .

May I twist the formula a bit? And even reverse it? For me, I arrived there … although…  And it is this “although” that I want to emphasize. It is this “although” that paralyzed me for almost thirty years.

You have nevertheless arrived, Maryse Condé, 2018 winner of the alternative Nobel Prize for Literature, although …

Although I was told, when I was a little girl, that people like me could not become writers. I was 12 years old in Pointe-à-Pitre when a friend of my mother’s wanted to give me an original gift. She knew that I had read everything that I could get my hands on: Balzac, Maupassant, Flaubert … So she opted for a novel by Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights [translated into French as Les Hauts de Hurlevent]. I first accepted the book without enthusiasm, but as soon as I opened the first pages, I was transported. This book was extraordinary. […]

[Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. Full text available by subscription only; see https://www.lemonde.fr/livres/article/2018/12/09/maryse-conde-attention-a-ne-pas-prendre-la-place-des-maitres-et-repeter-leurs-travers_5394777_3260.html.]

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