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Open Access Exile, Return and Mourning in Aimé Césaire's Cahier d'un retour au pays natal and Dany Laferrière's L'Énigme du retour

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This article explores the relationship between exile, return and mourning, in relation to two outstanding works of Caribbean literature: Aimé Césaire's Cahier d'un retour au pays natal, from 1939, and Dany Laferrière's L'Énigme du retour, published in 2009, the year after Césaire's death. The article shows how Laferrière's text refers to Césaire's, and is in a sense a work of mourning, haunted by Césaire's epic poem. I begin with a short analysis of Césaire's poem as a document of grief, related to return, and proceed in the greater part of the article to a full analysis of Laferrière's book. Throughout, I develop the notion of the traveller's return as an act of grieving and mourning.
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Keywords: CESAIRE; EXILE; HAITI; LAFERRIERE; MOURNING; RETURN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 19, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The Irish Journal of French Studies is an annual international refereed journal published by the Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande. Articles in English, French or Irish are welcomed on any aspect of research in the area of French and Francophone culture, society, literature and thought. Articles published within the last two years are available free online to members and may be purchased by non-members. All other articles are available on an open access basis.

    Please note that the Print ISSN listed for the journal on this website applies to volumes 1 to 10, and part of volume 16. All other volumes are published, in their entirety, on-line only.

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