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Afro-GreeksDialogues between Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Classics in the Twentieth Century$
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Emily Greenwood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575244

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575244.001.0001

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Translatio studii et imperii

Translatio studii et imperii

The Manipulation of Latin in Modern Caribbean Literature

(p.112) 3 Translatio studii et imperii

Emily Greenwood (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes that one of the ways in which Caribbean Classics has been liberated from the colonial curriculum is through the rejection of the idea of a continuous transmission of empire from Rome's empire to the British Empire. Starting with Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe (2002), the chapter traces variations on this theme in V. S. Naipaul (The Mimic Men (1967), and A Bend in the River (1979) ), and the poetry of Derek Walcott. These writers each play with the misquotation and mistranslation of Latin in modern Caribbean literature in order to expose gaps and elisions in British colonial appropriations of Classics. It transpires that the misquotation of Latin in these texts is not a simple matter. Particularly in Clarke and Naipaul, misquotation shows up a miscarriage in the process of translation and, correspondingly, a miscarriage in the succession of empire. If the classical texts quoted in colonial contexts mean something else, or are misquoted, then the narrative of imperial continuity (the translatio studii et imperii) loses cogency.

Keywords:   Austin Clarke, V. S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, misquotation, translatio studii et imperii, British Empire, Latin in the Caribbean, sweet talk

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