The Black Surrealists

The Black Surrealists

The Black Surrealists

The Black Surrealists


In their rebellion against Western civilization, the European surrealists contested their own society, of which, black surrealists were subjected to even harsher and shared the same dreadful racial memory of the slave ship. Black surrealists would strive to completely eradicate this hostile society by means of art, words, and metaphors.


Over the years, many colleagues, friends and students, not very well acquainted with French, have urged me to write an English version of my book, Les Ecrivains Noirs et le Surrealism.—Edition Naaman: Sherbrooke, Quebec Canada.—That was quite a challenge, when one realizes the arduous problems faced by translators of literary works, especially of poetry.

With this publication, those who have not had the pleasure to read the original texts of the great black French speaking poets and writers will have at least, the opportunity to read the English translation of their writings, and to enjoy the story of their marvelous surrealist adventure.

During this translation, a literal rendering of the texts in prose seemed advisable, and I did so, although this English version involves more than straight translation. Sometimes I have to eliminate a passage because the critic of the French prosody was not accurate in a literal English translation, and thus, new meaningful versions were added. In poetry, I rather attempted to recreate the mood of the French verses in English; nevertheless, some verses quoted in this essay were already translated in more complete and sophisticated Anthologies like the Negritude poets, by Ellen Conroy Kennedy. Also translated from French by Ellen Conroy Kennedy, a classic work in this field, is Black Writers in French, a literary history of negritude, by Lilyan Kesteloot. I refer with confidence my readers to those publications for further exploration of those writers' works.

I hereby gratefully acknowledge authors, translators, others interpreters, and anthologists of Black French Speaking writers without whom I would not be able to write The Black Surrealists.

To increase the usefulness of this essay, a Selected Bibliography has been added at the end. I hope it will provide a practical tool for those seeking access to this poetry in the original French editions translated in English.


Miami, Florida . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.