This article tracks the engagement of several twentieth-century writers with a line from Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (Journal of a Homecoming): “et il est place pour tous au rendez-vous de la conquête” (and there is room for all at the appointed place of conquest; translated by C. L. R. James as “there is a place for all at the rendezvous of victory”). This line came to define an ethics and an aesthetics for the cultural movement that ensued in the wake of the Bandung conference, which brought together heads of state from the third world in pursuit of national independence. In the critical commentaries and artistic engagements with Césaire’s work by James, Frantz Fanon, Nadine Gordimer, and Edward Said, a form of internationalism emerged that was sustained by a common investment in this poetic image. These writers weren’t bound by an identity of interest, however, but rather by the displacements to which they subjected Césaire’s poem through their linguistic, generic, affective, and semantic translations. The essay concludes that Bandung humanism supposed a contingent and revisable understanding of the human and promoted an aesthetic of reworking rather than timeless forms.

You do not currently have access to this content.