Black Skin, White Masks

Black Skin, White Masks

By (author) , Introduction by , Translated by

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In this study, Fanon uses psychoanalysis and psychological theory to explain the feelings of dependency and inadequacy that black people experience in a white world. Originally formulated to combat the oppression of black people, Fanon's insights are now being taken up by other oppressed groups - including feminists - and used in their struggle for cultural and political autonomy. Like Marx, Fanon wanted to change the world as well as to describe it. The sustained influence of his writings realizes this ambition.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 134 x 210 x 14mm | 240.41g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • French
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0745300359
  • 9780745300351
  • 824,442

Table of contents

The Negro and language; the woman of colour and the white man; the man of colour and the white man; the so-called dependency complex of colonized peoples; the fact of blackness; the Negro and psychotherapy; the Negro and recognition; by way of conclusion.

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Review Text

One of the ironies of history is the pervasive debt anti-colonial revolutionaries owe to European thinkers. The writings of the late FLN theoretician and apostle of "negritude," Frantz Fanon, for instance, ripple with the Marxian class war, Sorelian violence, Rousseauist utopianism and, of course, the polemics of Sartre, his master and friend. Fanon's famous manifesto, The Wretched of the Earth, described his experiences as a psychiatrist at a French Military hospital in Algeria, the "colonial neurosis," the struggle for liberation, and the dream of an African "Third World." It is a tough, rich, infuriatingly rhetorical work in which pleas for and diagrams of socio-political revamping almost always get swamped by fiery displays of Jacobin idealism, imperious exhortations, threats. Black Skin, White Masks, his first effort, written just about a decade before his death at thirty-six in 1961, is of much less interest or importance. It suffers from a good deal of youthful pretentiousness (Fanon had a mania for arbitrary citations), a rhapsodically muddled style, a by-now trite theses ("the black soul is a white man's artifact"), and a summation ("For the black man there is only one destiny. And it is white"). This appears to fly in the face of his later position. An intermittently powerful racial study. (Kirkus Reviews)

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