An Accidental Homer
Accidents of Homeric Reception in the Modern Caribbean
The starting point for this chapter is Antonio Benítez‐Rojo's concept of the ‘path of words’ to explain the repetition of motifs in travel writers who undertake the same journeys. This repetitive path of words is an important route for the introduction of classical motifs into modern Caribbean literature. The chapter studies the constant return to Greece in Patrick Leigh Fermor's The Traveller's Tree: A Journey through the Caribbean Islands (1950), and contrasts Fermor's neo‐Hellenic analogies with J. A. Froude's notorious Homeric analogy in The English in the West Indies, or The Bow of Ulysses (1887). One of the legacies of these travel accounts is that the Caribbean is represented as an accident of Greece, a curious ‘other’ Mediterranean. Since both Froude and Fermor's accounts appeal to Homer's Odyssey as a legitimizing text for their travel accounts, the second section explores Derek Walcott's fashioning of a New World Odyssey that writes back to Froude and Fermor, and shares tropes with other responses to The Odyssey in the Caribbean.
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