Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature

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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

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ulysses in Black is a powerful and pioneering study that creatively links the rich traditions of classical antiquity to contemporary black thought. I highly recommend it."—Cornel West, Princeton University

"At last—Patrice D. Rankine's model study gives us the literary methodology needed to think about black classicism vis-à-vis the Ulysses theme in the writings of Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison. More important, he gives us a 'lens' for seeing what thoughtful literary analysis of black classicism reveals about our national psyche."—Michele Valerie Ronnick, Wayne State University

“Whatever future directions that the research in black classicism takes, it will be informed and enriched by Rankine’s study, which attempts to open up a serious dialogue between Classics and Black Studies, away from the polemics of the Black Athena debate.”—Classical Receptions Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299220044
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Series: Wisconsin Studies in Classics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrice D. Rankine is associate professor of classics and director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Classics at Purdue University.

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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
Notes     193
References Cited     219
Index     237
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

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