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Rosa Andújar | Philological Reception and the Repeating Odyssey in the Caribbean
This lecture discusses La Odilea by Francisco Chofre, a Cuban 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 meticulous linguistic transformations, which I consider a model of “philological” reception, as well as the ambiguous and complex relationship that Chofre posits between his work and the ancient epic, one which oscillates between irreverence and veneration of Homer. 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. Chofre’s novel reveals the Odyssey’s unique resonance across the Caribbean while also challenging existing models of classical reception.