Date of Award

5-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

John Romeiser

Committee Members

Mary McAlpin, Douja Mamelouk, Rosalind Hackett

Abstract

Since its early days, critics have evaluated various authors' credibility based on their perceived level of literary political commitment. In sub-Saharan francophone Africa, this litmus test has not spared its founding figures. The case of Leopold Sedar Senghor is a perfect illustration. Today, almost twelve years after his death, he continues to attract the wrath of the new generation of thinkers, some of whom have gone to the extent of not just questioning but also denying the nobility of any political commitment in his poetry. The purpose of this text is to reanalyze Senghor versus this new criticism and prove that, although he consistently used culture, his political commitment was never lacking. To the contrary, his first two books of poetry (Chants d'ombre and Hosties noires) were one-sidedly political.

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