Rhythm, Music, and Literature in the French Caribbean

Munro Martin

in Different Drummers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262829
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947405 | DOI:
Rhythm, Music, and Literature in the French Caribbean

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This chapter focuses on the literature and on the persistence of rhythm in the literary and intellectual discourse of the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. It discusses how the rhythm-blackness equation was subsequently called into question by intellectuals such as René Ménil and Frantz Fanon, both of whom sought to demystify and de-racialize issues of culture and identity. It explains the development of this discourse in the French Caribbean from the Negritude era to the 1980s, from the African-centered rhythmic poetics of Aimé Césaire through Léon-Gontran Damas's experiments with jazz rhythms and Frantz Fanon's denunciation of rhythm as an essential component of racialized Martinican identity. This more realist representation of Martinican life incorporated a reworked conception of rhythm as a living, evolving element in the lives of the island's poor.

Keywords: French Caribbean islands; rhythm-blackness equation; René Ménil; Frantz Fanon; Aimé Césaire; Léon-Gontran Damas; Negritude era; Martinican identity

Chapter.  24622 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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