Today’s Google Doodle celebrates René Maran’s 132nd birthday, a French poet and writer, and the first black writer to win the French Prix Goncourt in 1921.
René Maran was born on this date in 1887. He was a Black French journalist, and the first black author to win the renowned French literary prize, the Prix Goncourt.
René Maran was born in Martinique of Guyanese parents on the boat carrying his folks to Fort-de-France where he lived until the age of seven. After that stay in Gabon, Central Africa, where his dad Héménéglide Maran was serving in a colonial post, René Maran returned in 1894 to France, where he went to the lycée. He later finished his baccalaureate at Bordeaux, which he from that point viewed as home.
Like his dad, René Maran entered the French colonial service. In 1910 he left for Bangui to fill in as a frivolous official accountable for indigenous issues in the Ubangi-Shari domain of French Equatorial Africa (present-day Central African Republic). The only black Frenchman to hold such a post, René Maran served from 1910 to 1925.
After attending boarding school in Bordeaux, France, he joined the French Colonial service in French Equatorial Africa. It was his experience there that was the reason for a considerable lot of his novels, including Batouala: A True Black Novel, which won the Prix Goncourt.
René Maran’s first book of poems (Batouala) was resulting from this experience and was first published in French in 1921. This interpretation is, be that as it may, in view of the franker 1938 edition. He composed seven different books including Le Livre de la Brousse (1934) and an autobiographical novel Un Homme pareil aux Autres. He expressed that he went through six years, off and on, writing his best work by observing the methods for the tribal groups and learning their languages.
Jean-Paul Sartre insinuated René Maran in his introduction to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, mocking the French foundation’s smug self-congratulation that they had “on one occasion gave the Prix Goncourt to a Negro”. His novel Un Homme pareil aux autres is the subject of broad investigation in the third chapter of Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks.
A few pundits felt that he included a lot of language for the average reader; positively he got the exotic flavor of the African mainland (as indicated by one reviewer, superior to anything anybody has done since Pierre Loti).
In his own introduction, René Maran questions how much the white Europeans put the burden on his colored colonials. Subsequent to winning the Goncourt Prize in 1921, he depicted flora and fauna of Africa, its native people groups and their issues, and other such matters for an assortment of periodicals going from Le Monde Illustré to Candide.
In 1921, the introduction to his debut novel scrutinized racial disparities in the colonial system, which started debate and analysis. René Maran soon left his government position and moved to Paris, where he corresponded and socialized with African-American writers of the Harlem Renaissance all through the 1920s and 30s.
René Maran would proceed to write for notable periodicals in France and America—including publications like Opportunity, The Crisis, and Chicago Defender—and wrote a few different books of verse, fiction, and journal. He additionally went through over 10 years of reworking Batouala, a historic work of fiction that was respected for its uncommon insights into African life and widely translated.
René Maran remained staunchly dedicated to equality throughout his life, as well as to the quality of his writing. His prosperity offered inspiration to the 1930s movement of francophone intellectuals in the African diaspora, and right up ’til the present time he is viewed as a literary pioneer.
René Maran died on May 9, 1960.