Dislocating Black Classicism

Emily Greenwood

in African Athena

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731464 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Dislocating Black Classicism

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter examines the reception of Classics in the work Cahier d'un retour au pays natal by the Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, and compares Césaire's engagement with the cultures of Greece and Rome to that of the Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite. By comparing how these two Caribbean poets from different generations, the one Francophone, the other Anglophone, have used Classics in their expression of black cultural identities, the chapter reviews the concept of black classicism — the idea that there is a coherent reception of Classics in different black traditions. Rather than simply rejecting or affirming black classicism, it is argued that the idea of dislocation / dys‐location is central to Caribbean classical receptions, as authors attempt to relate the different black cultures which are present in the region.

Keywords: Kamau Brathwaite; Aimé Césaire; Black Classicism; Cahier; classical reception

Chapter.  7204 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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