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Philological Reception and the Repeating Odyssey in the Caribbean: Francisco Chofre's La Odilea

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Original languageEnglish
JournalAMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY
Volume143
Issue number2
Accepted/In press22 Jun 2021
Published13 Aug 2022

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Abstract

This article discusses La Odilea, Francisco Chofre’s prose adaptation of the Odyssey, which refigures both Homer’s heroes as guajiros (peasants) and the ancient epic itself through the adoption of an oral Cuban dialect. My examination first highlights Chofre’s linguistic transformations, which I consider a model of “philological” reception, as well as the ambiguous and complex relationship that he posits between his work and the Greek source text. I then explore the broader questions that this text poses regarding vernacularity and canon, as well as their implications in La Odilea’s two main contexts: the Cuban Revolution and the postcolonial Caribbean. Its role in Chofre’s novel reveals the Odyssey’s unique resonance across the Caribbean while also challenging existing models of classical reception.

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