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Research in African Literatures 33.4 (2002) 88-100

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A Select Bibliography of the Works of Léopold Sédar Senghor

David M. Westley


This introduction, rather than attempting to analyze the work of Senghor, an undertaking I leave to the experts represented in this issue, emphasizes the problems of bibliography associated with his oeuvre, considering his poetry and prose as well as translations into English and interviews. It is my belief that in constructing a bibliography it is best to search first for existing bibliographies. Why re-invent the wheel? This is made possible by a feature of OCLC that allows the user to search by subject. Hence find subject "Senghor" and subject "bibliography." This allows me to see most of the bibliographies that have been published by now (leaving out bibliographies in journals).What first struck my eye was a publication calling itself La première bibliographie mondiale de Léopold Senghor(membre de l'Académie Française)1100 publications (1943-1995) by Yvan Yenev "sous la direction de Matcheu Madjeu," containing material "by and about the author" published in Paris in 1999 by none other than Yvan Yenev. It may be that the newnessof the publication has resulted in it being unavailable or it may be his asking price but only one library in the US has it, the library at UCLA, and I was unable to get a copy from them. The other important book-length bibliography, which I found in our library catalog is a government document: Léopold Sédar Senghor: bibliographie, Bureau de documentation de la Présidence de la République, 2nd ed. Dakar: Fondation Léopold Sédar Senghor, 1982. Although it was helpful in finding early materials (in the chronology rather than in the bibliography proper), it was not faithful in giving full documentation much of the time. It also listed a number of publications available only to users in France or Senegal. It should be pointed out that the government document bibliography is still worthwhile to more serious researchers. First of all, it lists all translations found. Second, it includes many more works than my bibliography. About half of it is devoted to works about Senghor. It has an index of subjects and authors and a list of publications cited. It would be specially useful for those doing research in Senegal and France. I also found a useful, if relatively short, bibliography by Moustapha Tambadou by searching MLA Bibliography on-line. Published in Ethiopiques (a journal not to be confused with Senghor's book of poetry of the same name) of which Senghor was one of the founders, it was especially useful in identifying works in that journal that are not available in my library for the most part as well as a number of other sources (Moustapha Tambadou, "Bibliographie de Léopold Sédar Senghor," Ethiopiques 3.1-2 [1985]: 203-16). It must be emphasized that this is not a chronological account of how I did my work. Rather this research was carried out over a period of time ruled largely by the imprecision of the library loan process. I may yet find Yenev's bibliography. [End Page 88]

I began my search by looking up Senghor as an author on my own library catalog and then went to OCLC to see what I could get through interlibrary loan. At the time it was unclear whether I was doing a bibliography of works by and about Senghor or simply by Senghor. The latter won out as it became clear that Senghor's work was a topic unto itself and I cleared this with the editor.

Since I wanted to use materials that were for the most part available to non-French researchers (I wasn't always faithful to this tenet), I decided to emphasize works that were found in two major sources:

Liberté Vols.1-4 (1964-1993)
Léopold Sédar Senghor et la Revue Présence Africaine (1996)

Even our library didn't have Vols. 4 and 5 and we...


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