Quick! Name one word that binds these great authors together. … ???? You don’t know? Well, neither did I, at least not until I started my Global Literature class. I did not even know these authors except perhaps, Chinua Achebe and Yeats.
Taking Global literature with Prof. Dawn Duncan has been interesting to say the least. It’s always fun when she reads. The classroom becomes a stage as she modulates her voice like a classic play narrator. I had the opportunity to read Achebe again. You don’t really finish high school in Africa without Chinua Achebe’s classic – “Things fall apart.” But I have never read it in this context, beginning to understand why he wrote it. It was a reaction to Josef Conrad’s Heart of Darkness which Achebe accuses of being racist, never mind that Conrad (one of the first serious European critics of colonization) had generally good intentions. But Achebe falls on Yeats’ Second coming for a title to his magnum opus. He quotes
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre;
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosened upon the world”
Yeats, an Irish poet and politician was a very important literary voice in the Irish political resistance and is also hugely significant in the reconstruction of Irish identity, an identity that Prof. Duncan, herself of Irish ancestry, relates to in a personal way. And then there is Neruda, a poet from Chile who was also hugely involved in the reconstruction of Chilean and indeed, the entire Latin American identity, with a look at economic neocolonialism in his classic, “United Fruit Co.
So what is the one word that binds them? Post-colonialism! I am not one of those die-hard literature enthusiasts, but I have to say these were fascinating reads – I think if you have even the slightest interest in global literature, you should read my new additions to “must read” books/poems
-Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart; Pablo Neruda’s “United Fruit Co.”; W. B. Yeats “Easter 1916” and Josef Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”