Other literary forms

(World Poets and Poetry)

Léopold Senghor (sehn-GAWR) was a poet and a politician, a combination of professions unusual in the Anglo-Saxon world but not uncommon in French literary history. As one of the leaders of the emerging nationalism of the former French African colonies and later, as president of Senegal, Senghor was called on to make speeches, prepare reports, and write articles in newspapers, reviews, and periodicals. These many articles deal with a variety of topics: political, cultural, economic, judicial, and social, as well as literary. In 1948, Senghor edited Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française, with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre titled “Orphée noir.” Among Senghor’s prose works are Congrès constitutif du P.F.A.: Rapport sur la doctrine et le programme du parti (1959; Report on the Principles and Programme of the Party, 1959) and La Préhistoire et les groupes éthniques (1960; prehistory and ethnic groups). Senghor’s interest in socialism and its application in Africa was expressed in Nation et voie africaine du socialisme (1961; as volume 2 of Liberté, 1971; Nationhood and the African Road to Socialism, 1962; abridged as On African Socialism, 1964) and Théorie et pratique du socialisme sénégalais (1964). In the works of the Catholic thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Senghor found a synthesis of Catholicism and socialism that fit his personal beliefs, reflected in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin et la politique africaine (1962). Liberté: Négritude et humanisme, 1964 (Freedom I: Negritude and Humanism, 1974) collects a wide range of Senghor’s articles and lectures.