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Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds$
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Lorna Hardwick and Carol Gillespie

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296101.001.0001

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A Divided Child, or Derek Walcott’s Post-Colonial Philology

A Divided Child, or Derek Walcott’s Post-Colonial Philology

(p.170) 10 A Divided Child, or Derek Walcott’s Post-Colonial Philology
Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds

Cashman Kerr Prince

Oxford University Press

Derek Walcott’s career attracts the academic notice of scholars interested in English, post-colonial, and classical literatures; Walcott’s oeuvre seems to invite interdisciplinary interest. Engaging scholarship from these perspectives, this chapter argues for a more nuanced understanding of Walcott’s intertextuality in his use of classical literature, and situates his poetic praxis in a post-colonial context. While the chapter refers to various works by Walcott, the primary focus is on the first section of Cul de Sac Valley, a lyric poem from Walcott’s 1987 collection, The Arkansas Testament, and on his 1973 book-length autobiographical poem, Another Life. It argues that Walcott both draws on and overcomes the fragmentation inherent in the psychic anxiety provoked by the post-colonial condition. Walcott does not succumb to the cleavages inherent in the ‘nervous condition’ of colonialism; rather, his poetry bridges the chasm of fragmentation—here rendered as less of a gaping maw than a pool of polysemous inspiration.

Keywords:   Derek Walcott, philology, classical literature, intertextuality, poetry, post-colonial literature, Another Life

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