A familiar compound ghost
katabasis and The Tempest
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This chapter opens with a discussion of T.S. Eliot's ‘familiar compound ghost’ in The Four Quartets, analysing its reliance on, and re-enactment of, a series of katabases, or journeys to the underworld, depicted by Homer, Virgil and Dante. Such journeys typically involve a hero confronting his ancestors and such moments often simultaneously dramatise a text's encounter with its own precursors. The compound ghost emerges as the sum of all these poets, bearing traces of all these earlier journeys to the underworld. Norman Loftis's Black Anima and Derek Walcott's Omeros are also late moments within another allusive sequence, the afterlife of The Tempest. Later responses to this play are haunted by memories, corpses and ghosts, which coexist in texts and are ever more cluttered.

A familiar compound ghost

Allusion and the uncanny


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