By Barbara Goff, Michael Simpson
Crossroads within the Black Aegean is a compendious, well timed, and engaging research of African rewritings of Greek tragedy. It involves specified readings of six dramas and one epic poem, from diverse 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 through dramatists of African descent, and the way performs that dilate at the strength of the earlier, within the inexorable curse of Oedipus and the regressive obsession of Antigone, can articulate the postcolonial second. Capitalizing on classical reception experiences, postcolonial reports, and comparative literature, Crossroads within the Black Aegean co-ordinates conception and theatre. It crucially investigates how the performs have interaction with the 'Western canon', and indicates 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 versions of cultural transmission.
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Additional info for Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone, and Dramas of the African Diaspora
General Carter-Ross about the bodies of Tegonni’s brothers, which is read out on stage to dire eVect, contrasts implicitly with the oral culture of celebration dramatised in Tegonni’s wedding party and in her storytelling. The thrust of these reXections on oral and literary cultures, as the plays Wgure them in terms of their own theatrical and literary dimensions, is variously to show that these adaptations know and can meet the standards of European literature, to question the scope and authority of those literary standards, and ultimately to demonstrate an alternative beyond the polarity of the oral and the literary on which those standards depend.
Tegonni, the version of Antigone in OsoWsan’s play, also acts for and in the name of her brother, but other relationships are made newly prominent, and most of them do not refer to the family of blood-kin. We are not encouraged to think of her dead mother and father as Oedipus or Jocasta, because their legacies are less problematic—they are renowned instead for bringing wealth and ease to their community. In their absence other familial Wgures emerge. Tegonni has several women friends who are like her sisters and who show solidarity with her; and she has a father Wgure in Chief Isokun, who is to act the part of the father in her forthcoming wedding.
1 Intersections and Networks Standin’ at the crossroads, tried to Xag a ride, Whee-hee, I tried to Xag a ride, Didn’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by. I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west, I went to the crossroad, babe, I looked east and west, Lord, I didn’t have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress. (Robert Johnson, ‘Crossroads Blues’) The African children of Antigone and Oedipus bring with them a series of arguments about identity, claims to civilization, and models of transmission over time and space, which together require a new coordination of reception studies and postcolonialism.