By Barbara Goff, Michael Simpson
Crossroads within the Black Aegean is a compendious, well timed, and engaging examine of African rewritings of Greek tragedy. It contains distinctive readings of six dramas and one epic poem, from assorted 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 through dramatists of African descent, and the way performs that dilate at the energy of the previous, within the inexorable curse of Oedipus and the regressive obsession of Antigone, can articulate the postcolonial second. Capitalizing on classical reception reviews, postcolonial reports, and comparative literature, Crossroads within the Black Aegean co-ordinates thought and theatre. It crucially investigates how the performs interact 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 replacement African versions of cultural transmission.
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Additional info for Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone, and Dramas of the African Diaspora
How the narrator negotiates these forceful cultures without falling under their individual sway is by adopting those cultural fathers, like Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare, who represent them. Just as Telemachus seeks to piece together his absent father from accounts given by Nestor, Menelaus, and Helen, so the narrator Wlls the vacuum of his own dead father with numerous cultural fathers who cannot impose a single identity on him because there are a number of them, and because they are adopted by him.
There are two sizeable implications of the immanence of reception studies within acts of reception. 36 In eschewing this claim, however, the present book will not sacriWce a historicizing practice and will, indeed, apply it to the cultural and theatrical circumstances of virtually all of the dramas treated; such historicizing, on the other hand, will not guarantee a spectatorial distance from them. The second implication of this immanence is as follows. 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.
Several such models have been recently hypothesized as having functioned historically in practice long before coming to enjoy full theoretical formulation, and, as we indicated near the beginning of this Introduction, a recent theorization of ‘the African imagination’ (Irele 2001) provides a broad framework within which to accommodate these models. Irele contends that the oral culture of Africa, despite being increasingly marginalized, is vigorous and resourceful in Wnding new ways to preserve and disseminate itself, for example, by means of the audiovisual record (2001: 8), and thus ‘has been able to maintain itself as a contemporary reality and .