February 10, 2018

African American Literature and the Classicist Tradition: by Tracey L. Walters (auth.) PDF

By Tracey L. Walters (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230608876

ISBN-13: 9780230608870

ISBN-10: 1349369624

ISBN-13: 9781349369621

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The child Ceres nurses is not Demophoön, but Triptolemus, who Ceres nurses to health using the medicinal properties of poppies. Graves’ interpretation of the Persephone and Demeter myth borrows from the Homeric Hymn, Orphic fragments, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. A significant change in Graves’ narrative is the discussion of Hades’ capture of Proserpine. Graves shows that Pluto is not solely interested in raping Proserpine, rather he wants to make her his wife; and before taking Proserpine he asks Jove’s permission to marry her.

Wheatley’s affinity for the classics came as a result of her informal education under the tutelage of her slave owner’s daughter Susannah Wheatley. Susannah Wheatley introduced Phillis to Greco-Roman writers including Virgil, Ovid, and Terence, and neoclassical writer Alexander Pope (Caretta xiv). It was Pope’s neoclassical verse that greatly influenced Wheatley’s own classical renderings, most notably his translation of Homer (Mason 16). , “imitating Pope in rhythm and meter Phillis wrote in decasyllabic lines of closed heroic couplets.

Rankine also observes that for his play Medea, Cullen “had a black actress, Rose McClendon, in mind to play the role of Medea” (97). In addition to Cullen’s Medea, Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Modern Medea,” and Toni Morrison’s Beloved also feature African American Medeas. African American writers easily imagine Medea as a Black woman because, as Haley notes, Medea was one of the “‘Children of the Sun,’ an epithet people of African descent have used in pre-literate and literate texts to describe themselves.

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African American Literature and the Classicist Tradition: Black Women Writers from Wheatley to Morrison by Tracey L. Walters (auth.)

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