Cadastre Additional Summary

Aimé Césaire


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Further Reading

Arnold, A. James. Modernism and Negritude: The Poetry and Poetics of Aimé Césaire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981. One of the best, most comprehensive studies of Césaire’s art and ideas, of the evolution of the collections of verse that became Cadastre, and of ways that the key poems in that work function as apocalyptic visions.

Césaire, Aimé. Lost Body. Introduced and translated by Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith. New York: Braziller, 1986. Makes available, for the first time since the publication of a limited edition of 219 copies in 1950, the record of the collaboration between Césaire and Pablo Picasso, who contributed thirty-two engravings to accompany the ten poems. Césaire and Picasso were communist militants until 1956. Bilingual edition.

Hurley, E. Anthony. “Link and Lance: Aspects of Poetic Function in Césaire’s Cadastre—An Analysis of Five Poems.” L’Esprit Créateur 32, no. 1 (Spring, 1992): 54-68. Closely reads five of the poems collected in Cadastre in order to draw conclusions about the “poeticness” of Césaire’s poetry.

Scharfman, Ronnie Leah.“Engagement” and the Language of the Subject in the Poetry of Aimé Césaire. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1987. Provides sensitive close readings of three poems from the two parts of Cadastre: “Totem” from Beheaded Sun and “Word” and “Disembodied” from Disembodied. Scharfman’s Lacanian psychoanalytical reading nuances Arnold’s interpretation in terms of a conventional heroic-quest narrative, but at the cost of dissociating Césaire’s poems from their social and historical context.

Suk, Jeannie. Postcolonial Paradoxes in French Caribbean Writing: Césaire, Glissant, Condé. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Reads Césaire and two other francophone Antilles writers as existing on the margins of postcolonialism and therefore useful for understanding what does and does not count as postcolonial, as well as the political and cultural meanings and uses of that term.