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Black OdysseysThe Homeric Odyssey in the African Diaspora since 1939$
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Justine McConnell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605002

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605002.001.0001

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The Odysseys of Postcolonialism

(p.1) Introduction
Black Odysseys

Justine McConnell

Oxford University Press

Introducing the volume’s examination of anticolonial and postcolonial responses to the Homeric Odyssey, the chapter considers why the epic has been of such interest to artists of the African diaspora. Toussaint L’Ouverture’s Haitian Revolution is seen as a precursor to these modern works, just as the Trojan War is the precursor to the Odyssey. The place of Martin Bernal’s influential Black Athena is assessed, and the reasons for the centrality of Cyclops to postcolonial responses to the Odyssey are examined. The oppression enacted by the imposition of the colonizer’s language is discussed, and the resistance against this is considered, not least by the contemporary writer Junot Díaz who himself engages with Césaire and Ellison, as well as with Homer.

Keywords:   Junot Díaz Bernal, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Haiti postcolonial, African diaspora, Cyclops

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