Black Odysseys: The Homeric Odyssey in the African Diaspora since 1939

Hardcover | July 27, 2013

byJustine McConnell

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Black Odysseys explores creative works by artists of ultimately African descent, which respond to the Homeric Odyssey. Considering what the ancient Greek epic has signified for those struggling to emerge from the shadow of Western imperialism, and how it has inspired anti-colonial poets,novelists, playwrights, and directors, McConnell examines twentieth- and twenty-first century works from Africa and the African diaspora, including the Caribbean and the United States. In seeking to discover why the Odyssey, as a founding text of the Western canon, has been of such interest to theseartists, the great plurality of post-colonial and anti-colonial responses becomes clear: responses that differ dramatically from each other, even in the attitude adopted towards Odysseus himself. Since Aime Cesaire's seminal 1939 poem, Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a Return to My Native Land), the Odyssey's homecoming trope and quest for identity have inspired writers who are simultaneously striving against and appropriating the very forms which had been used to oppress them.Following in the wake of Cesaire, this volume proceeds chronologically and considers works by Ralph Ellison, Derek Walcott, Jon Amiel, Wilson Harris, Njabulo Ndebele, and Jatinder Verma.

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Black Odysseys explores creative works by artists of ultimately African descent, which respond to the Homeric Odyssey. Considering what the ancient Greek epic has signified for those struggling to emerge from the shadow of Western imperialism, and how it has inspired anti-colonial poets,novelists, playwrights, and directors, McConnell ...

Justine McConnell is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Oxford University's Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, working on the "Performing Epic" project. She is co-editor of Ancient Slavery and Abolition: from Hobbes to Hollywood (OUP, 2011) with Edith Hall and Richard Alston, and of a forthcoming volume, The Oxford Ha...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:July 27, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199605009

ISBN - 13:9780199605002

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of illustrationsIntroduction: The Odysseys of Postcolonialism1. A Martiniquan Ithaca: Aime Cesaire's Cahier d un retour au pays natal2. Invisible Odysseus and the Cyclops: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man3. The 'unread' Homer: Derek Walcott's Omeros and The Odyssey: A Stage Version4. A Deep South Odyssey: Jon Amiel's Sommersby5. Cross-Cultural Nostoi: Wilson Harris' The Mask of the Beggar6. South African Penelopes: Njabulo Ndebele's The Cry of Winnie MandelaCoda: New Directions: Jatinder Verma and Tara ArtsConclusion: Rewriting OdysseysAppendix: Interview with Jatinder VermaBibliographyIndex