Prayer to the Masks Essay

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In the following essay, Miller considers the problem of an African writer educated in French who wishes to address African themes in his writing. Senghor's poem "Prayer to the Masks" appeared in his first book, Chants d'Ombre (Shadow Songs), which collected his poems written during the 1930s and early 1940s. These poems reveal the influence of Senghor's original displacement from his homeland to study in France, and their tone oscillates between a melancholic view of Europe as it descended towards war and fascism and an often nostalgic conjuration of the Africa of Senghor's childhood. Yet Senghor's evocation of African traditions, customs, beliefs, and settings should not be seen merely as the nostalgic fantasy of an expatriate poet for his homeland. Behind Senghor's poetic Africa lies a much more comprehensive program for the cultural, educational, and political, the ideal of "negritude" that he would pursue with other black...

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This section contains 1,915 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Prayer to the Masks Study Guide
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