Leopold Sedar Senghor (1906-2001) was a Senegalese poet and
philosopher who in 1960 also became the first president of the
Republic of Senegal. "In African Art as Philosophy," Souleymane
Bachir Diagne takes a unique approach to reading Senghor's
influential works, taking as the starting point for his analysis
Henri Bergson's idea that in order to understand philosophers one
must find the initial intuition from which every aspect of their
work develops. In the case of Senghor, Diagne argues that his
primordial intuition is that African art is a philosophy.
To further this point, Diagne looks at what Senghor called the
"1889 Revolution," and the influential writers and publications of
that time--specifically, Nietzsche and Rimbaud, as well as
Bergson's "Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness." The 1889
Revolution, Senghor claims, is what led him to the understanding of
the "Vitalism" at the core of African religions and beliefs that
found expression in the arts.
This book offers a distinct, incisive look at an important
figure in African literature and politics that will be welcomed by
scholars in African Studies and philosophy.
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