Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“The old world is crumbling down:”Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest and the Rise and Fall of the Third World

A little note of mine regarding Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest, currently over at The Actuary. 

Published in 1969 Césaire’s A Tempest, can be placed not only under a Cold War context but also at the height of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements enveloping the world from Bolivia to the Congo to Vietnam or in those continents which came to form the “Third World” and the non-aligned movement of those years. (This tri-continental movement which sought to establish true political, economic and cultural independence from the West or First World but also from the Soviet Sphere or Second World thus became known as the Third World. The Third World was much more than a geographic zone on the periphery of the Empire; it was an idea perhaps best exemplified by its political leaders, the likes of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Egypt’s Gamal Nasser, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru and Yugoslavia’s  Josep Tito to name but a few).  A Tempest, it could be argued can be read not only as a text that deals with the lingering effects of colonialism on the psyche of the colonized but also as a fascinating narrative that takes us from the birth of postcolonial nations after World War II to their downfall as corrupt nationalist regimes. A closer look at the characters of Prospero, Caliban and Ariel should elucidate some of the points made here thus far.

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