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By Emily Greenwood

Afro-Greeks examines the reception of Classics within the English-speaking Caribbean, from approximately 1920 to the start of the twenty first century. Emily Greenwood makes a speciality of the ways that Greco-Roman antiquity has been positioned to inventive use in Anglophone Caribbean literature, and relates this neighborhood classical culture to the academic context, in particular the best way Classics used to be taught within the colonial university curriculum. Discussions of Caribbean literature are likely to imagine an hostile dating among Classics, that's taken care of as a legacy of empire, and Caribbean literature. whereas acknowledging this imperial and colonial backstory, Greenwood argues that Caribbean writers comparable to Kamau Brathwaite, C. L. R. James, V. S. Naipaul, and Derek Walcott have effectively appropriated Classics and tailored it to the cultural context of the Caribbean, making a unique, nearby tradition.

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Extra resources for Afro-Greeks: Dialogues between Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Classics in the Twentieth Century

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On page 18 the British in the West Indies are aligned with the Britons on the outposts of the Roman Empire, ‘civilized’ (¼colonized) by Rome and harassed by barbarian hordes. The reflective reader should puzzle at this analogy, which implies that the British in the West Indies are to the British at home what the distant Britons were to the Romans in Italy. Froude employs this analogy to shame metropolitan readers into acting in the interests of the British in colonial territories,39 but the analogy has the inadvertent effect of exposing gaps in Britishness between those at the centre and the peripheries.

James’s Beyond a Boundary (1963), Eric Williams’s autobiography Inward Hunger (1969), Austin Clarke’s Growing up Stupid under the Union Jack (1980), and selected poems by Howard Fergus and E. A. Markham. As evidence of the way in which Caribbean Classics has been successfully liberated from the colonial curriculum, my third chapter 51 See Gordon Rohlehr’s depressing description of this condition, cited in n. 11 above. 52 See Rankine 2006: 49–50; and O’Meally 2007: 14 (with n. 16, p. 26), and 80.

I suggest that these writers each play with the idea of misappropriation and error, strategically deploying the misquotation and mistranslation of Latin in modern Caribbean literature to expose gaps and elisions in British colonial appropriations of Classics. I suggest that this misquotation and mistranslation is canny because it involves the complex manipulation of readers’ expectations. For those who recognize and can translate the quotations in question, misquotation may suggest simple error.

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