A Divided Child, or Derek Walcott's Post-Colonial Philology
Derek Walcott's career attracts the academic notice of scholars interested in English, post-colonial, and classical literatures; Walcott's oeuvre seems to invite interdisciplinary interest. Engaging scholarship from these perspectives, this chapter argues for a more nuanced understanding of Walcott's intertextuality in his use of classical literature, and situates his poetic praxis in a post-colonial context. While the chapter refers to various works by Walcott, the primary focus is on the first section of Cul de Sac Valley, a lyric poem from Walcott's 1987 collection, The Arkansas Testament, and on his 1973 book-length autobiographical poem, Another Life. It argues that Walcott both draws on and overcomes the fragmentation inherent in the psychic anxiety provoked by the post-colonial condition. Walcott does not succumb to the cleavages inherent in the ‘nervous condition’ of colonialism; rather, his poetry bridges the chasm of fragmentation—here rendered as less of a gaping maw than a pool of polysemous inspiration.
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