Criticism: The Negritude Debate - Essay

Ezekiel Mphahlele (essay date 1965)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Mphahlele, Ezekiel. “Négritude—A Reply.” In Critical Perspectives on Léopold Sédar Senghor, edited by Janice Spleth, pp. 31-5. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Three Continents Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1965, Mphahlele, known for his opposition to the concept of Negritude as it was defined by Senghor and others, responds by pointing out that for him, Negritude is a socio-political movement with a set place in history; it is not, however, a concept that can or should encompass African literature and art.]

[Editor's note: The following remarks were made during the conference on “African Literature...

(The entire section is 2511 words.)

Abiola Irele (essay date 1986)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Irele, Abiola. “The Negritude Debate.” In European-Language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Albert S. Gérard, pp. 379-93. Budapest, Hungary: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1986.

[In the following essay, Irele explores the various interpretations of Negritude by writers through the decades, placing it in a historical-political perspective.]

There is a sense in which the development of negritude,1 both as a movement and as a concept, has been marked by a fundamental irony. This irony stems from the fact that the first extended discussion and systematic formulation of negritude was provided by Jean-Paul Sartre. In many ways, it was Sartre's brilliant...

(The entire section is 8150 words.)