The dust jacket blurb of the first edition is herewith reproduced in full:
The black Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, whose first major work was hailed by André Breton as "the greatest lyric monument of our time," has long been regarded in France as one of the great poets of the twentieth century. Moreover, the philosophy of negritude evolved by Césaire and his friend Leopold Senghor is an important bridge between modernism and contemporary Third World nationalistic movements.
They twenty poems in this book, presented in French with facing English translations, have been chosen to illustrate fundamental aspects of Césaire's thought, imagery, and style as these crystallized into a single, coherent system in the late 1940's and the 1950's. The work aims to assist both nonspecialist reader and scholar to a deeper comprehension of the poems and their formidable linguistic difficulties. The translator's skillful commentary steers a reader around the pitfalls in Cesaire's complex and idiosyncratic use of language (notably the absence of conventional punctuation, deformations of syntax, and verbal inventiveness), and he emphasizes the larger themes and patterns of imagery that link these poems both among themselves and to the rest of Césaire' work. A substantial introduction discusses Césaire, his intellectual context, and the major critical issues in his work.
The book is illustrated with a selection from the etchings done by Picasso for Césaire's collection Corps perdu.