The Muse of History by Derek Walcott

1751 Words Feb 26th, 2018 7 Pages
Colonialism led to Europeans who brought Africans then Indians to lands that were already occupied by native Arawak and Amerindian Indians. This ensued a postcolonial environment that displayed a culture that was often schizophrenic. The culture that has been handed down whether through oppressive powers or willfully acquired offer inspiration for artists. In Derek Walcott’s essay, “The Muse of History,” he compares two different views of writers who have experienced colonialism the classical and the other radical. He says that there is the “common experience” of colonialism, but one should not remain fixated on the past (36). Derek Walcott and Jean Rhys are deemed as classical writers since such writers “have gone past the confrontation of history, that Medusa of the New World,” and instead of becoming frozen in bitterness, see history as a source for re-imagination. The radical writer yearns for the past, while the classicist sees history and the New World as full of possibilities. Walcott is among many other artists who feel the need to take these fragments and fuse them in order for an Antillean voice to emerge. In Beating a Restless Drum: The Poetics of Kamau Braithwaite and Derek Walcott by June D. Bobb, quotes Brathwaite:
Slowly, ever so slowly….I was coming to an awareness…of cultural wholeness, of the place of the individual within…
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