Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literatureby Patrice D. Rankine
Pub. Date: 03/28/2008
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
In this groundbreaking work, Patrice D. Rankine asserts that the classics need not be a mark of Eurocentrism, as they have long been considered. Instead, the classical tradition can be part of a self-conscious, prideful approach to African American culture, esthetics, and identity. Ulysses in Black demonstrates that, similar to their white counterparts, African… See more details below
In this groundbreaking work, Patrice D. Rankine asserts that the classics need not be a mark of Eurocentrism, as they have long been considered. Instead, the classical tradition can be part of a self-conscious, prideful approach to African American culture, esthetics, and identity. Ulysses in Black demonstrates that, similar to their white counterparts, African American authors have been students of classical languages, literature, and mythologies by such writers as Homer, Euripides, and Seneca.
Ulysses in Black closely analyzes classical themes (the nature of love and its relationship to the social, Dionysus in myth as a parallel to the black protagonist in the American scene, misplaced Ulyssean manhood) as seen in the works of such African American writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Countee Cullen. Rankine finds that the merging of a black esthetic with the classics-contrary to expectations throughout American culture-has often been a radical addressing of concerns including violence against blacks, racism, and oppression. Ultimately, this unique study of black classicism becomes an exploration of America's broader cultural integrity, one that is inclusive and historic.
About the Author:
Patrice D. Rankine is associate professor of classics and director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Classics at Purdue University
Table of Contents
Prologue: Preparing for the Journey of Ulysses in Black 3
Classica Africana: The Nascent Study of Black Classicism 22
From Eurocentrism to Black Classicism
Birth of a Hero: The Poetics and Politics of Ulysses in Classical Literature 37
Ulysses Lost on Racial Frontiers: The Limits of Classicism in the Modern World 66
The New Negro Ulysses: Classicism in African American Literature as a Return from the Black (W)hole 83
Ralph Ellison's Black American Ulysses
"Ulysses alone in Polly-what's-his-name's cave": Ralph Ellison and the Uses of Myth 121
Ulysses in Black: Lynching, Dismemberment, Dionysiac Rites 152
Ulysses (Re)Journeying Home: Bridging the Divide between Black Studies and the Classics 180
References Cited 219
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