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Léopold Sédar Senghor's Revolution of 1889 and Littérature-monde: Awakening Intuition

  • Author / Creator
    Mumm, Shanna
  • The goal of this dissertation is to legitimize and to bolster the validity of an intuitive epistemology. By using Léopold Sédar Senghor’s “Revolution of 1889” as the foundation for deeper consideration of a movement towards an intuitive epistemology, I not only consider the meaning of intuition at a philosophical level, mainly through the works of Henri Bergson, but via the literature of Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Claudel as well. Henri Bergson, Senghor’s “Spirit of 1889,” describes how intuition is necessary for experiencing la durée, but notes that it is fleeting. To gain access, one is to reverse the habitual thought patterns and surrender to the constant ungraspable flux that is duration. Bergson refuses to concretely define intuition, for any attempts at defining it with denotative language will, at best, merely hint at intuition’s intangibility. Language is important to this dissertation because it is both blamed for hindering faith in intuition as well as being championed as a potential means for expressing the unknown and the intangible, through more poetic language. Senghor chose to include Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Claudel in the revolution because they wrote poetry and prose that translated the deeper realms of the ungraspable, of the inconnu (the unknown) – be it of the psyche, of life or of experience in general– into language through stories, plays, poetry, letters and verse.Intuition is the unbroken thread tying Senghor’s “Revolution of 1889” to the emergence of littérature-monde in 2007. Littérature-monde calls for a return to literature that is vibrant, alive and that speaks to the intuitive knowing existing within us all. There is a failure within literature-monde to consider the unequal power dynamics caused by colonialism, but the main intention is to promote literature that can encourage hybridity and inter-cultural understanding. This thesis presents literature and art as having the potential to offer a wider and deeper understanding of reality with the aim of awakening intuition on a global scale, so we might return to the rhythm of life itself.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3HQ3SF26
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.