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The Meaning of Caliban in Black Literature Today

Charlotte H. Bruner
Comparative Literature Studies
Vol. 13, No. 3 (Sep., 1976), pp. 240-253
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40246045
Page Count: 14
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The Meaning of Caliban in Black Literature Today
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Abstract

As today's black writers have taken the appellation Caliban for their own, this image has changed from native-Indian-Caribbean-cannibal--to Black African colonized slave--to triumphant Third-World revolutionary. Writers emphasized first the inhibiting of character particularly by the imposition of a second language (Lamming). Critics also focused on the language imposition as part of a psychological crippling (Barnes, Mammoni, Fanon, Jahn). Recent African poets identify with Caliban as a colonized spirit (Armattoe, lo Liyong, Johnson). In the New World, contemporary American and Caribbean writers find in Prospero--the European colonizer; in Ariel--the privileged elite; in Caliban--themselves, disenfranchized, dispossessed, now regaining their own lost kingdom from the Christianized West (Critics: Rodó, Retamar, Dorsinville; poets: Phelps, Césaire). (CHB)

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