Friday, September 22, 2006


Ytterligare en recension Bryn Mawr-listan som jag fastnade för, då jag just på senare tid funderat över de icke-västvärdsligas inställning till det klassiska:

"This volume comprises the proceedings of a one-day conference on this
complex subject, held at the Institute of Classical Studies in London
in May 2001. In an interesting introduction, the editor, Barbara Goff,
provides an insight into the essence of postcolonialism (not a concept
that is very clear) and the role played by classical tradition in this
context. The author draws attention to the complicated relationship
that colonialism has had -- particularly in the case of the British
Empire, although other cases are also worthy of consideration -- with a
"political culture focused on classics".

Jag förstår mig visserligen inte på postkolonialism*, och försök inte förklara, många har försökt och misslyckats, men fann det hela mycket intressant. (Teorier, abstraktioner och teoretiserande funkar inte i mitt lilla huvud, jag har fortfarande mardrömmar om den gången frater försökte förklara Kant för mig.)
Här några tankeväckande och tänkvärda ting från recensionen:

"The next two papers present studies on the subject of Classical
tradition in the Caribbean area. The first ("We Speak Latin in
Trinidad: Uses of Classics in Caribbean Literature"), by Emily
Greenwood, concerns the way in which authors such as Sir Derek Walcott
approached classics and his complex relationship with a classical
background in Omeros and some of his autobiographical texts. The title
of the paper alludes to an anecdote relating to the childhood of Eric
Williams, the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, when he was
at Queen's Royal College. Some related subjects, such as the
picturesque project of "the Athens of the Caribbean" by the
aforementioned politician, or the "black history" by Marcus Garvey, who
defends the black presence in the very heart of the Classical World
with some inventiveness, are also covered in this article. The second
paper, "The British Empire and the Neo-Latin Tradition: The Case of
Francis Williams", by John Gilmore, evokes this black Jamaican poet,
who in the eighteenth century dedicated a Latin ode to the British
Governor of Jamaica. In this peculiar work, loyalty to the British King
and local patriotism are both present."
"The last chapter ("Greek Tragedies in West African Adaptations"
118-146), by Felix Budelmann is particularly focused on plays from the
1960s and early 1970s. He considers the reception of Greek tragedy in
some African writers: Clark Bekederemo, Kamau Brathwaite, Efua
Sutherland, Ola Rotimi, Jacqueline Leloup, Femi Osofisan and especially
Wole Soyinka."
"As a curious footnote, I would add that in the interesting
autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom II, London 1994
182 ff.; 249 ff.) a couple of examples of these connections between the
African environment and classics can be found, expressed from an
ingenious yet discerning point of view: the first relates to Antigone,
performed in jail and with Mandela playing the role of Creon; the
second relates to the film Cleopatra. In the first case, the author
declares: "It was Antigone who symbolised our struggle; she was, in her
own way, a freedom fighter, for she defied the law on the ground that
it was unjust". In the case of Mankiewicz's film, his remarks are less
in accordance with reality, but quite significant nevertheless: He
criticises the role being played by a violet-eyed actress, because he
interprets this as a way of passing over the fact that Cleopatra was an
"African woman"."

Antigone är en typisk motståndspjäs, den har väl nyttjats i alla tider i protestsyfte, så det är kittlande att mandela har varit med att sätta upp den. Cleopatras hudfärg är mäkta omdikuterad, jag har faktiskt ingen åsikt i frågan.

* "As Goff rightly acknowledges,
postcolonialism is "an expansive and generous term", and therefore her
starting point is the difference between 'imperialism' and
'colonialism' according to Edward Said. He suggests that colonialism is
simply a consequence of imperialism, and defines this term as "the
practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan
centre ruling a distant territory".

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