Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature

Paperback | March 28, 2008

byPatrice D. Rankine

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In this groundbreaking work, Patrice D. Rankine asserts that the classics need not be a mark of Eurocentrism, as they have long been considered. Instead, the classical tradition can be part of a self-conscious, prideful approach to African American culture, esthetics, and identity. Ulysses in Black demonstrates that, similar to their white counterparts, African American authors have been students of classical languages, literature, and mythologies by such writers as Homer, Euripides, and Seneca.

Ulysses in Black closely analyzes classical themes (the nature of love and its relationship to the social, Dionysus in myth as a parallel to the black protagonist in the American scene, misplaced Ulyssean manhood) as seen in the works of such African American writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Countee Cullen. Rankine finds that the merging of a black esthetic with the classics—contrary to expectations throughout American culture—has often been a radical addressing of concerns including violence against blacks, racism, and oppression. Ultimately, this unique study of black classicism becomes an exploration of America’s broader cultural integrity, one that is inclusive and historic.

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In this groundbreaking work, Patrice D. Rankine asserts that the classics need not be a mark of Eurocentrism, as they have long been considered. Instead, the classical tradition can be part of a self-conscious, prideful approach to African American culture, esthetics, and identity. Ulysses in Black demonstrates that, similar to their w...

Patrice D. Rankine is associate professor of classics and director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Classics at Purdue University.

other books by Patrice D. Rankine

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Hardcover|Jul 15 2013

$54.04 online$59.50list price
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:March 28, 2008Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299220044

ISBN - 13:9780299220044

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“Whatever future directions that the research in black classicism takes, it will be informed and enriched by Rankine’s study, which attempts to open up a serious dialogue between Classics and Black Studies, away from the polemics of the Black Athena debate.”—Classical Receptions Journal