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Cross-Cultural Affinities

Emersonian Transcendentalism and Senghorian Negritude


Manyaka Toko Djockoua

The book, through textual analyses, brings concepts of Senghorian Negritude and Emersonian ideas into a cross-cultural dialogue, and thus opens up a completely new perspective in research on the history of ideas. It synthesizes the diverse cultural, literary, philosophical and religious trends which have impacted on the complex and elusive fields of Transcendentalism and Negritude. Focusing on the current debate on influences and affinities in literary and cultural studies, the book shows that African religions and philosophy have influenced the formation of American Transcendentalism.

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In this erudite, groundbreaking and thoughtful book entitled: Cross-Cultural Affinities: Emersonian Transcendentalism and Senghorian Negritude, Manyaka Toko Djockoua revisits and carefully examines precious studies on Transcendentalism and Negritude. She then advocates a fresh comparative approach to the study of these two seemingly irreconcilable cultural and literary movements while providing varied arguments to support her views of cross-cultural fertilization. She begins by giving a synopsis of the origin and evolution of the two movements. She then turns her attention to the biographies of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Léopold Sédar Senghor. In the final section of this wide-ranging book, she carries out an in-depth analysis of the essays and poems of the two philosophers in order to show how close is the complementarity between Transcendentalist and Negritudinist cultural and literary ethics, on the one hand and thematic and stylistic elements in the essays and poems on the other.

The main thrust of this book lies in its highlighting of the striking similarities that exist in the lives and works of these two scholars. As concerns their lives, for example:

• The worldviews and writings of the two erudite essayists, poets and critics are shaped by similar life experiences.

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