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By Barbara Goff, Michael Simpson

Crossroads within the Black Aegean is a compendious, well timed, and interesting research of African rewritings of Greek tragedy. It comprises distinctive readings of six dramas and one epic poem, from diversified 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 via dramatists of African descent, and the way performs that dilate at the energy of the prior, within the inexorable curse of Oedipus and the regressive obsession of Antigone, can articulate the postcolonial second. Capitalizing on classical reception reports, postcolonial experiences, and comparative literature, Crossroads within the Black Aegean co-ordinates thought and theatre. It crucially investigates how the performs have interaction 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 replacement African versions 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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The Wgure of adoption, so prominent in Tegonni, is a factor in the one work that is discussed in the present study even though it is neither dramatic nor chieXy predicated on the Wgures of Oedipus or Antigone. This work is Omeros, and it is signiWcant here largely because it refuses the oedipal structure by expanding it. While most of the other works addressed in this book challenge the oedipal paradigm, propose alternatives to it, or do both, Omeros challenges it only by extending it in its own logical and historical terms: Freud’s ‘The Ego and the Id’ supplemented what has come to be the stereotypical Oedipus complex by interpolating bisexuality into it and thus reversing and doubling its constituent relationships (1991: 23), and Omeros conducts analogous relationships with its Caribbean natural environment on the one hand, and with the various imported cultures of the Caribbean on the other.

In place of the Furies’ campaign of retribution, ultimately inspired by the ethic of revenge, is instituted a new dispensation, brokered by Athena, of precisely calibrated public justice. Under this accommodation, the chthonic forces of the Furies, as well as those whom they would previously have persecuted, are contained within a new framework of law which not only regulates the relationship between crime and punishment but also constitutes the authority that is violated and thereby deWnes the crime in the Wrst instance.

Once capitalism breaks oedipal limits, it destroys one of its own conditions of possibility, which is the familiar oedipal body based on a genital Wxation that serves to organize the ‘drives’ around it. This body is, of course, ultimately deWned by what it cannot do. 23 Zeitlin 1990 discusses tragic Thebes and shows how it is dramatically constructed as the antithesis of Athens, so that in theatrical Thebes all boundaries collapse, whereas they are upheld in Athens, and Athens correspondingly can solve the political and civic problems by which Thebes is devastated.

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