This essay advances an “interpretive analytic” to analyze the character of the politics and strategic intent in Aimé Césaire's poetics and life work. In so doing, it focuses on Césaire's commitment to the method of poetics articulated through the project and politics of négritude. It argues that Césaire's interventions should be treated as part and parcel of the set of cultural practices gathered under the rubric of “creolization” and that his concern is to conduct a “Creole line of escape” from the hegemony of modern cultures of power. The essay teases out the mode of opening that Césaire sought after in “dwelling with power” and eschews a premature closure on his négritude. Certainly, the problem of blackness is implicated in the undoing of the sets of contradictions embedded in our contemporary historical legacy. However, the essay argues that it is the spectral case of “abject blackness” that lies at the heart of Césaire's critique. Given the peculiarity of the conditions sustaining this experience of “being-black-in-the-world,” the essay interprets Césaire's poiesis through an analysis of the aesthetic and aesthetic judgment and within a class of performances called liminal acts.

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