The Deprivileging of Prospero

  • Chantal Zabus

Abstract

Ernest Renan’s closet drama, Caliban: Suite de “La Tempête” (1878), marks the emergence of a Calibanic genealogy in foregrounding the Prospero-Caliban encounter and initiating a critical posturing toward the Prospero-figure. At that time, Latin American writers like Dario and Groussac (and, to some extent, Rodó) had labeled the United States Calibanesque and basely irredeemable while that country saw itself, in the throes of World War I, as incarnating a multicultural democracy, as in MacKaye’s pageant, Caliban By the Yellow Sands (1916). In Europe, “the reign of Caliban,” according to Guéhenno, engendered totalitarianism while in Africa, it corresponded to the decline of colonialism and the demise of ethnopsychiatry, incarnated by D. O. Mannoni’s Prospero and Caliban (1950). This early example of “reflexive ethnology” triggered off responses from Africa and the Caribbean. As nationalisms took center-stage, Sithole, Ngugi, Césaire, Fanon, and Memmi introduced a Calibanic universalism, that irreversibly toppled Prospero as the sole, transcendental guarantor of interpretation.

Keywords

Crystallization Europe Rubber Schizophrenia Assimilation 

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Notes

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    Ernest Renan, Caliban: Suite de “La tempête” (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1878). All translations are my own. Hereafter page numbers are indicated in the text.Google Scholar
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