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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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A Martiniquan Ithaca: Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal

A Martiniquan Ithaca: Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal

(p.39) 1 A Martiniquan Ithaca: Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal
Black Odysseys

Justine McConnell

Oxford University Press

Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (1939) is a landmark poem for anticolonialism, spearheaded by the Négritude movement of which he was a founder. It is also one of the first works to bring explicit anticolonial issues of race and oppression to its response to the Odyssey. Trained in classics, Césaire both appropriates and subverts the Odyssey, not least in his response to the Homeric Cyclops and katabasis. He redefines the roles and moral perspective of the Cyclops incident, and throughout the poem demonstrates the internal struggle of those torn between assimilation and breaking free from the yoke of colonialism.

Keywords:   Césaire, Cahier, Négritude, Cyclops, anticolonialism, katabasis, assimilation

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