Document Type


Date of Award



College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLABS)

Degree Name

MA in English

First Advisor

Professor Patricia R. Williams


Leopold Sedar Senghor is undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed African writers using the French language as means of expression. As such, he is obviously influenced by the masters of the French tradition. However, there are underlying Romantic tendencies in his lyric poetry. In fact, two of his collections that reflect his early and middle poetic developments, respectively, 􁪽hants d'Ombre and Nocturnes, adhere to the Romantic tradition set by the masters of the English Romantic Verse. Therefore, this present study purports to establish that the concept of Negritude co-exists with Romanticism in the introspective and nostalgic verse of Leopold Sedar Senghor. In order to test that hypothesis, a history of the Negritude and Romantic concepts is traced. Thus founded, their common trends and tendencies serve as basis for a textual and historical-biographical critical approach to Senghor's Chants d'ombre and Nocturnes. Because Senghor's oeuvre is a projection of his times, this study illustrates that the VI "common" characteristics of sensibility in Senghor's lyrics embody the poet's consciousness, which is extended to that of Black people. Consequently, this study reveals that the poet's individuation emanates in his oeuvre. That individuation is notably manifested in Senghor's use of sensory appeals, concrete impressions and symbolic concepts to carry his sensibility. These three tools convey his subject matter of nostalgia and love triggered by his sense of exile and solitude. In fact, the discoveries of this investigation prove that Senghor uses the Romantic devices of memory and nature to project his sensibility and produce lyrics that embody his consciousness extended to that of Black people. These techniques are an application of Senghor' s conception of poetry as the "expression of profound feelings." Consequently, the poems studied illustrate the poet's reflective nature and the introspection he engages in to successfully reach his reader's emotions, through an Aristotelian catharsis, and thus adhere to the Romantic definition of a poet. vii