Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Léopold Sédar Senghor :: essays research papers

Là ©opold Sà ©dar Senghor Senegalese poet and statesman, founder of the Senegalese Democratic Bloc. Senghor was elected president of Senegal in the 1960s. He retired from office in 1980. He was one of the originators of the concept of Nà ©gritude, defined as the literary and artistic expression of the black African experience. In historical context the term has been seen as a reaction against French colonialism and a defence of African culture. It has deeply influnced the strengthening of African identity in the French-speaking black world. "L'à ¨motion est nà ¨gre, la raision est hà ©llà ¨ne." (emotion is Negro, reason is Greek) "Negritude is the totality of the cultural values of the Black world." Là ©opold Sà ©dar Senghor was born in Joal-la-Portugaise, a small fishing vilage about seventy miles south of Dakar. His father was of noble descent and wealthy merchant. His mother was a Peul, one of a pastoral and nomadic people. Later Senghor wrote: "I grew up in the heartland of Africa, at the crossroads / Of castes and races and roads" The first seven years of his life Senghor spent in Djilor with his mother and maternal uncles and aunts. At the age of twelve, he attended the Catholic mission school of Ngazobil. He continued his studied at the Libermann Seminary and Lycà ©e Van Vollenhoven, finishing secondary-school education in 1928. After winning a state scholarship, Senghor then moved to Paris and graduated from the Lycà ©e Louis-le-grand in 1931. During these years he read African-American poets of the Harlem Renaissance and such French poets as Rimbaud, Mallarmà ©, Baudelaire, Verlaine and Valà ©ry. Among Senghor's s friends were Aimà © Cesaire, with whom he would develope the idea of Negritude, and Georges Pompidou, who later elected President of France. In 1932 Senghor was granted French citizenship. He served in a regiment of colonial infantry and in 1935 he obtained the agrà ©gation degree in grammar. From 1935 he worked as a teacher, notably at Lycà ©e Descartes in Tours, then in Paris at Lycà ©e Marcelin Berthelot. At the outbreak of World War II, he joined the French army, but was captured by the Germans and spent eighteen months in a camp as a prisoner of war. During this period he learned German and wrote poems, which were published in HOSTIES NOIRES (1948). In 1944 he was appointed professor of African languages at the École Nationale de la France d'Outre-Mer. Senghor's first collection of poems, CHANTS D'OMBRE (1945), was inspired by the philosopher Henri Bergson, and dealt with the themes of exile and nostalgia.

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