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Western Classic and Their Adaptation Within the African Psyche

  • Date Submitted: 04/03/2012 09:34 PM
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Western Classics and their Adaptation within the African Psyche: A Case Study of Walcott’s “The Odyssey” and Soyinka’s “The Bacchae of Euripedes”


Muhammad Safeer   Awan

Department of English (FLL)
International Islamic University, Islamabad


In an essay with something to say about the earliest roots of colonialism in relation to the emergence of African literary trends in post-colonial contexts, Bernth Lindfors recounts that English, already a lingua franca, proved an expeditious vehicle for an “ambitious networking enterprise” whereby

          … the mobile language community penetrated, occupied and colonized the immobile language communities, extending communicative hegemony over numerous widely scattered peoples by implanting its own tongue in the mouths of all it met … … The British … soon were in control of much of the import-export trade, for their voices carried further than anyone else’s.   They came, they communicated, and they conquered, forging linguistic links not only directly between themselves and their many hosts but also laterally between all those hosts with who they had established productive parasitic intercourse.   Their empire was a vast, worldwide internet connected by a single operational code.   Anglophonia ruled the waves.   (ARIEL, p.153)

Of course, these images are very clear for us, within our own post-colonial context in Pakistan and India; both in relation to the linguistic-cultural impositions as manifested by the Anglophone (especially literary) norms initiated by the Macaulay Minute and in the current computer terminology of   ‘websites’ and ‘nets’ – altogether very ‘parasitic’ in their suggestiveness.1

However, in the case of the subcontinent, the relationship between the conquerors and the conquered, in various terms and at various levels, even within Anglophone perimeters, was never as stark as in the African continent.   The subcontinental civilizations, both Muslim and Hindu, had firmly established, written...

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