Return to My Native Land




Brasch Collection PQ2605 E74 C3 A22



Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin


The first time I read Aimé Césaire’s Return to My Native Land was in London, 1980. I had been researching John Berger for an MA thesis. Although impressed by Césaire’s poetry, I didn’t grasp the significance of this translation for Berger’s work. Revolutionary claims in the Translators’ Note seemed excessive and naive. Last year, when asked to write an essay on non-Western approaches to Berger, I was delighted to find this edition of Return to My Native Land in the Brasch Collection. I finally realized that Berger’s statements about Black Liberation as a form of revolutionary freedom provide a context for understanding his donation of half his Booker Prize money to the British Black Panthers. They are also central to his theories about the revolutionary nature of Cubism and the theme of revolutionary freedom in his novel G. (1972). Now, these claims seem utopian, not naive.
(Chosen by Dr Rochelle Simmons, Department of English and Linguistics, Otago)


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Aimé Césaire (Translated from the French by John Berger and Anne Bostock), “Return to My Native Land,” | OUR Heritage, accessed June 14, 2024,