Jacques Rabemananjara

Rabemananjara, Jacques

 

Born 1913, in Tamatave. Malagasy poet and political leader writing in French.

In 1945 and 1946, Rabemananjara was elected a deputy to the French Constituent Assembly. In 1946 he helped found the mass progressive political organization of the Democratic Movement for Malagasy Revival. In 1947, at the time of an uprising in Madagascar, he was arrested by the French colonial authorities and spent nine years in prison.

In his works, which are filled with social indignation, Rabemananjara opposes colonialism. Examples are his verse collections The Seven-stringed Lyre (1948), A Thousand-year-old Custom (1955), Antidote (1961), and the narrative poems Antsa (1948; Russian translations, 1961 and 1973) and Lamba (1956; Russian translations, 1958, 1961, and 1968). Other examples are the tragedy Navigators of the Dawn (1957) and such publicist writings as The Cultural Foundations of Malagasy Nationalism (1958) and Is There Any Further Use for Negritude? (1969). The subject of the book of sonnets God’s Courts (1973) is the barbaric tortures inflicted on supposed criminals in medieval Europe.

Rabemananjara has served in the government of the Malagasy Republic as minister of the national economy (1960–65), minister of agriculture (1965–67), and minister of foreign affairs (from 1967 to May 1972).

REFERENCES

Gal’perina, E. “Poeziia v ritmakh tam-tama.” In V ritmakh tam-tama. Moscow, 1961.
In Sovremennye literatury Afriki. (Vostochnaia i Iuzhnaia Afrika.) Moscow, 1974.
Boucquey de Schutter, E. Jacques Rabemananjara: Choix de textes. Bibliographie, portraits, facsimilés. [Paris, 1964.]

M. N. VAKSMAKHER

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In the course of this narrative we are introduced to figures such as the poet Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo (the sampling of whose work in this anthology makes one wonder whether Gray would consider translating a Complete poems?), Jacques Rabemananjara, Flavien Ranaivo, Edouard J.
While there are some surprising typographical errors in a work published by an institution as respectable as Duke University Press--examples include "un ame Negre" for "une ame Negre" (19); L'Orphee noir for Orphee noir (22 and passim); A l'appel de la race de Sabu for A l'appel de la race de Saba (40, n.110); Jacques Rabemananja for Jacques Rabemananjara, who is also incorrectly referred to as "an African intellectual" (43, n.129) whereas he was Malagasy, and so on--this book is not only valuable for art historians and cultural critics, but also for scholars who have studied Negritude primarily as a literary movement.
The "Pioneers" section contains selections from Madagascar's three best-known poets: Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, Flavien Ranaivo, and Jacques Rabemananjara. These selections reflect early Malagasy writers' indebtedness to both French symbolism and the Malagasy literary tradition, and highlight the important themes of negritude and Malagasy nationalism.