Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone, and by Barbara Goff, Michael Simpson

By Barbara Goff, Michael Simpson

Crossroads within the Black Aegean is a compendious, well timed, and engaging examine of African rewritings of Greek tragedy. It comprises particular readings of six dramas and one epic poem, from various destinations around the African diaspora. Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson ask why the performs of Sophocles' Theban Cycle determine so prominently one of the tragedies tailored by way of dramatists of African descent, and the way performs that dilate at the energy of the previous, within the inexorable curse of Oedipus and the regressive obsession of Antigone, can articulate the postcolonial second. Capitalizing on classical reception reviews, postcolonial experiences, and comparative literature, Crossroads within the Black Aegean co-ordinates conception and theatre. It crucially investigates how the performs interact with the 'Western canon', and exhibits how they use their self-consciously literary prestige to claim, ironize, and problem their very own position, in relation either to that culture and to substitute African types of cultural transmission.

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Additional info for Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone, and Dramas of the African Diaspora

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Most symptomatic of the narrow basis of the Oedipus complex and its attendant theory of cultural transmission is the fact that the complex is conWned to merely Oedipus Tyrannus and does not entertain Oedipus at Colonus, even though the latter play registers at least two other models of cultural transmission. One can be traced in the relationship between the two generations represented by Oedipus and Antigone. Having been uniformly repudiated as he wanders, blind and helpless, around Greece, Oedipus 30 Although Freud’s earlier models of the Oedipus complex involve quite distinct destinies for the complex in male and female development, the latter destiny is not explored; see Freud 1977.

Reinhardt 1979: 220 notes that there is a possible analogue with a magistracy in historical Thebes. 30 Introduction bind between sons and fathers, as an act of deWance against both Oedipus and Creon, and eVectively returns Thebes to oedipal reXexes, as Haemon turns against his father and himself. Since both Oedipus’ settling and settlement in Oedipus at Colonus are eVectively repudiated in the Antigone, there is no achieved stability here to be integrated into, and thus to guarantee the stability of, either psychoanalytic theory or any other theory of cultural transmission devolving from it.

Endowed with this capacity for critical self-reXection, by the exposure to other models of cultural transmission noted above, reception studies is theoretically equipped to countenance and account for its own practical limitations. The big theoretical diagnosis that follows from this reXexive capacity is itself recursive. The diagnosis reveals a liability that is, paradoxically, a condition 36 Introduction of the very reXection enabling the diagnosis: constraining, as well as empowering, reception studies is precisely the fact that it is always itself an act of reception.

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