The Poetics of Colonization

The Poetics of Colonization : From City to Text in Archaic Greece

By (author) Carol Dougherty

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Tales of archaic Greek city foundations continue to be told and retold long after the colonies themselves were settled, and this book explores how the ancient Greeks constructed their memory of founding new cities overseas. Greek stories about colonizing Sicily or the Black Sea in the seventh century B.C.E. are no more transparent, no less culturally constructed than nineteenth-century British tales of empire in India or Africa; they are every bit as much about power, language, and cultural appropriation. This book brings anthropological and literary theory to bear on the narratives that later Greeks tell about founding colonies and the processes through which the colonized are assimilated into the familiar story-lines, metaphors, and rituals of the colonizers. The distinctiveness and the universality of the Greek colonial representations are explored through explicit comparison with later European narratives of new world settlement.

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  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 162.1 x 237.7 x 20.3mm | 552.39g
  • 14 Oct 1993
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York
  • English
  • halftones
  • 0195083997
  • 9780195083996
  • 1,617,572

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Review quote

seems to me like a major text ... the early section is a necessary counter to much contemporary genrealization about the modernity of colonial and imperial experience. Canadian Literature No. 142 stimulating book... Greece and Rome

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Back cover copy

Tales of archaic Greek city foundations continued to be told and retold long after the colonies themselves were settled. This book explores how the ancient Greeks constructed their memory of founding new cities overseas. Greek stories about colonizing Sicily or the Black Sea in the seventh century B.C.E. are no more transparent, no less culturally constructed than nineteenth-century British tales of empire in India or Africa; they are every bit as much about power, language, and cultural appropriation. This book brings anthropological and literary theory to bear on the narratives that later Greeks tell about founding colonies and the processes through which the colonized are assimilated into the familiar story lines, metaphors, and rituals of the colonizers. The distinctiveness and the universality of Greek colonial representations are explored through explicit comparison with later European narratives of new world settlement. Unique in its focus on issues of representation and colonial ideology, rather than the traditional historical approach, this book adds much to the study of the archaic colonization movement. Through new historicist readings, Carol Dougherty shows how, long after the Greek colonization movement itself was over, the colonial tale, embedded in important poetic genres and performed as part of significant civic occasions, enabled the Greeks to continue to colonize the past and to establish themselves as the imperial power in that cultural memory.

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