Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone, and by Barbara Goff, Michael Simpson

By Barbara Goff, Michael Simpson

Crossroads within the Black Aegean is a compendious, well timed, and interesting learn of African rewritings of Greek tragedy. It includes designated readings of six dramas and one epic poem, from various destinations around the African diaspora. Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson ask why the performs of Sophocles' Theban Cycle determine so prominently one of the tragedies tailored by means of dramatists of African descent, and the way performs that dilate at the strength of the previous, within the inexorable curse of Oedipus and the regressive obsession of Antigone, can articulate the postcolonial second. Capitalizing on classical reception experiences, postcolonial reports, and comparative literature, Crossroads within the Black Aegean co-ordinates conception and theatre. It crucially investigates how the performs have interaction with the 'Western canon', and indicates how they use their self-consciously literary prestige to say, ironize, and problem their very own position, in relation either to that culture and to substitute African versions of cultural transmission.

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We shall make full use of this concept in this book, but hypothesize within the Black Atlantic a further zone, the Black Aegean. This we postulate as a triangle, projected from within the Black Atlantic and symmetrical with it, Intersections and Networks 39 but with its third point radiating eastwards so that it links Africa to ancient Greece and Asia Minor as well as to the imperial West. An important advantage of this added construct is that it geometrically incorporates a good deal of the African continent, so that it faces into an eastern as well as a western hemisphere.

Kamau Brathwaite’s ‘creolization’ Wgures a largely equable cultural making of the African Caribbean out of the plethora of African and non-African languages within the region, while Derek Walcott’s Omeros casts the Caribbean as a global agora of cultures which are freely accessible to one another, even across time. Finally, Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic understands modernity itself as the multiple migrations of African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean people and cultures. Generated within and for societies marked by the oedipal violence of colonialism, all the foregoing models nonetheless claim the possibility of a harmonious and productive transmission of culture, which they ground in African-derived modes of oral, vernacular interchange.

At stake in this issue of distance and proximity, speciWcally in relation to postcolonial works, is no less than the question of whether scholars of reception replicate, at least in the epistemological realm, the assumption of distance that has been described above as constitutive of orientalism and hence of colonialism itself. 37 We are all too incestuously and self-consciously interconnected in the obscene history of imperialism to start reinstituting neo-colonial binaries after this revelation; it 36 The equivalent of ‘new historicism’ in classical studies is what Martindale calls ‘historical positivism’ (2006: 2).

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