The essay suggests that Frantz Fanon’s French term damnés has very different existentialist and political meanings than those conveyed by the English word wretched. Fanon’s conception of the damned was highly influenced by the revolutionary modernist political imagination of black militant poets such as Jacques Roumain and Aimé Césaire, especially by Roumain’s poem “Sales négres.” Fanon’s damned hence cannot be considered as a mere sociological category. Reading The Wretched of the Earth through Giorgio Agamben’s ideas on the modernist meanings of the witness and the remnants, I finally argue that what is lost in translation is the apocalyptical, messianic, and redemptive langue of Fanon’s damned.

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