By Emily Greenwood
Afro-Greeks examines the reception of Classics within the English-speaking Caribbean, from approximately 1920 to the start of the twenty first century. Emily Greenwood makes a speciality of the ways that Greco-Roman antiquity has been positioned to artistic use in Anglophone Caribbean literature, and relates this local classical culture to the academic context, in particular the way Classics used to be taught within the colonial institution curriculum. Discussions of Caribbean literature are likely to think an adverse courting among Classics, that is handled as a legacy of empire, and Caribbean literature. whereas acknowledging this imperial and colonial backstory, Greenwood argues that Caribbean writers corresponding to Kamau Brathwaite, C. L. R. James, V. S. Naipaul, and Derek Walcott have effectively appropriated Classics and tailored it to the cultural context of the Caribbean, making a designated, nearby tradition.
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Extra info for Afro-Greeks: Dialogues between Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Classics in the Twentieth Century
Fermor draws a parallel with a Caribbean superstition about sleeping under the bells of a datura tree in ﬂower (16). 53 Walcott 1997e: 239. 54 This idea is repeated on the following page: ‘What culture is not a me´lange? In that sense, then, the ﬁrst impulse of the referential—what I have called the free-form choice—is not to verify the sources, but to accept the references, however “wrong” they may be’ (243). , my italics). The disjunctive conjunction forces an exclusive choice that is the opposite of the ‘free-form’ choice model of referentiality that Walcott was to articulate in ‘Reﬂections on Omeros’.
42 Although Fermor is far more subtle and respectful of cultural difference than Froude, the Hellenic interference in his account means that the Caribbean lies in the shadow of Greece and frequently ﬁnds signiﬁcance in relation to the borrowed culture of Greece. Hence the digression on Ferdinando Palaeologus ends with a plaintive contrast between Barbados and remote landscapes associated with the Byzantine Empire (Blachernae, the Golden Horn, and Mystra in the Peloponnese):43 [A] strange and inappropriate story.
23 Froude  1888: 105. 24 The geographical and topographical parallels that align the Caribbean with modern Greece are interwoven with references to ancient Greece. As a framing device, the Odyssey haunts Fermor’s imagination, colouring his encounters in the Caribbean. 25 Pseudo-epic tones are inescapable when Fermor envisages the nightly onslaught of mosquitoes in Guadeloupe in terms of the Trojan War. Describing the mosquito nets in their hotel room in Point-a`-Pitre (Guadeloupe), with bathetic humour Fermor observes that ‘These ediﬁces of muslin give to all sleepers the appearance of tented heroes on the Dardan Plain’ (23).
Afro-Greeks: Dialogues between Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Classics in the Twentieth Century by Emily Greenwood