Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization, by O. Mannoni
The colonial problem or, more broadly speaking, the problem of the West’s relations with those non-European peoples we call “primitive,” is so muddled, and now so pressing, that we must greet any fresh perspective on the question with interest and hope. Professor Mannoni seeks to offer us just that—a new look at the colonial dilemma from the combined viewpoints of imperial administration, ethnography, and psychoanalysis.
As former head of the General Information Department of the French administration in Madagascar, Mannoni took more than an official interest in the natives of the island—the Malagasy—and has produced respectable ethnographical studies of their culture. But vaguely troubled by his personal position in a colony, and driven by what he calls his “own private devil,” he undertook a training analysis after World War II with a view to sorting out his impressions and exploring some of the intuitions that touched the edge of his consciousness. The analysis was interrupted in 1947 when he returned to Madagascar and witnessed the native rebellion of that year. It was then, he says, that “a veil was torn aside and for a brief moment a burst of dazzling light enabled one to verify the series of intuitions one had not dared to believe in.”
About the Author