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THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH by Frantz Fanon
Frantz Fanon’s seminal work on the trauma of colonization, The Wretched of the Earth made him the leading anti-colonialist thinker of the twentieth century. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated from the French by Constance Farrington, with an introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre.
Written at the height of the Algerian war for independence from French colonial rule and first published in 1961, Frantz Fanon’s classic text has provided inspiration for anti-colonial movements ever since, analysing the role of class, race, national culture and violence in the struggle for freedom. With power and anger, Fanon makes clear the economic and psychological degradation inflicted by imperialism. It was Fanon, himself a psychotherapist, who exposed the connection between colonial war and mental disease, who showed how the fight for freedom must be combined with building a national culture, and who showed the way ahead, through revolutionary violence, to socialism. Many of the great calls to arms from the era of decolonization are now of purely historical interest, yet this passionate analysis of the relations between the great powers and the ‘Third World’ is just as illuminating about the world we live in today.
Frantz Fanon (1925-61) was a Martinique-born French author essayist, psychoanalyst, and revolutionary. Fanon was a supporter of the Algerian struggle for independence from French rule, and became a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. He was perhaps the preeminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. His works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades.
If you enjoyed The Wretched of the Earth, you might like Edward Said’s Orientalism, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
‘In clear language, in words that can only have been written in the cool heat of rage, he showed us the internal theatre of racism’
Two passages from the book that brought goosebumps and still ring so true even more than 50 years since they were published:
“This party that used to call itself the servant of the people, which used to claim that it worked for the full expression of the people’s will, as soon as the colonial power puts the country into its control, hastens to send the people back to their caves”p147
” These heads of the government are the true traitors in Africa, for they sell their country to the most terrifying of all its enemies: stupidity”p148
In a global scenario in which the economic power has shifted to a hand full of countries in the world, many of them once colonial, where do the poor go? Who will take care of their futures? Are questions that leaders need to answer. Perhaps they need to reread Fanon.”Amazon Reader
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