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Classics and National Cultures$
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Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.001.0001

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Mimicry and Classical Allusion in V. S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men

Mimicry and Classical Allusion in V. S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men

(p.100) 5 Mimicry and Classical Allusion in V. S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men
Classics and National Cultures

Emily Greenwood (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter undertakes a reading of the classical allusions in V. S. Naipaul's novel The Mimic Men (1967), a novel which is often interpreted as Naipaul's verdict on the mimic dependency of (post‐)colonial societies. Emily Greenwood argues that Naipaul uses classical allusions to show that not only were the British in the Caribbean themselves mimics of the cultures of Greece and Rome, but also that the presence of mimicry in these very cultures reveals the absurdity of the appropriation of the civilizations of Greece and Rome in the service of colonial mythmaking. As a specific example, the chapter examines Naipaul's ironizing use of a famous phrase from Virgil's Aeneid.

Keywords:   Naipaul, C. L. R. James, Caribbean, Virgil, mimicry, virtus

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