chapter  2
38 Pages

Post-epic National identities in Bernardine Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe

In theorizing the post-epic aspects of the texts on which this study is premised, four disparate works and their authors have been brought to bear on each other. Despite the formal and political congruencies that allow them to be categorized together, however loosely, they are texts with very different aesthetics and aims. What is particular about epic form for each of these works is its metaphorical potential to articulate the global perspective which characterizes the twentieth-and-twenty-first-century postcolonial literature. The texts are all aware of the problematic nature of this moment in terms of the cultural and transnational shifts of identity, and self-conscious of their own participation. In Murray, Evaristo and Carson's texts, there is a twofold awareness of literary traditions and generic subversions as they are verse-novels. As such, they are doubly ambivalent literary spaces and consciously critique the novel, the dominant genre in contemporary literature.