African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory / Edition 1

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In a Nigerian newspaper, more than ten years ago, the distinguished critic, Biodun Jeyifo, lamented what he called the "homelessness" of the writings of African literary theorists and critics. This landmark anthology at long last creates a home for the key texts, bringing together work that otherwise exists only in disparate journals and essay collections, and largely inaccessible texts. Covering all genres and critical schools of literary theory, the anthology provides the intellectual context for understanding African literature. The material is organised around significant topics in the field, including feminist criticism, postmodernism, and Marxist theory; and reflects the chronological development of African literary criticism. Writings include those written by scholars with often fiercely divergent viewpoints, exemplifying the drama and excitement of debates in the field.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This anthology represents a gathering of the best critical work on African literature and on larger questions of literary history, the sociology of literature, criticism and theory. In this magnificent book, we have a collection of the best that has been thought and written about African literary culture and the modern imagination."
Simon Gikandi, Professor of English, Princeton University

“Introduces the material in a crisp, always engaged, sometimes provocative manner … .Diverse perspectives through the rich dynamics of dialogue and debate. Highly recommended.” Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405112000
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/17/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 796
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tejumola Olaniyan is Professor in English at the University of Wisconsin. His publications include: Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African, African American and Caribbean Drama (1995), Arrest the Music: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics (2004), and he is coeditor of African Drama and Performance (2004).

Ato Quayson is Professor in English and Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnationalism Studies, University of Toronto. His previous publications include Strategic Transformation in Nigerian Writing (1997), Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice or Process? (2000), Relocating Postcolonialism (Blackwell, 2002) and Calibrations: Reading for the Social (2003).

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Tejumola Olaniyan and Ato Quayson.

Part I: Backgrounds:.

1. Africa and Writing: Alain Ricard (2004).

2. Sub-Saharan Africa’s Literary History in a Nutshell: Albert S. Gérard (1993).

3. Politics, Culture, and Literary Form: Bernth Lindfors (1979).

4. African Literature in Portuguese: Russell G. Hamilton (2004).

5. North African Writing: Anissa Talahite (1997).

6. A Continent and its Literatures in French: Jonathan Ngate (1988).

7. African Literature and the Colonial Factor: Simon Gikandi (2004).

8. African Literature: Myth or Reality?: V. Y. Mudimbe (1985).

Part II: Orality, Literacy, and the Interface:.

9. Africa and Orality: Liz Gunner (2004).

10. Orality, Literacy, and African Literature: Abiola Irele (1989).

11. Oral Literature and Modern African Literature: Isidore Okpewho (1992).

12. Women’s Oral Genres: Mary E. Modupe Kolawole (1997).

13.The Oral Artist’s Script: Harold Scheub (2002).

Part III: Writer, Writing, and Function:.

14. The Novelist as Teacher: Chinua Achebe (1965).

15. The Truth of Fiction: Chinua Achebe (1988).

16. Three in a Bed: Fiction, Morals, and Politics: Nadine Gordimer (1988).

17. Nobel Lecture: Naguib Mahfouz (1988).

18. Redefining Relevance: Njabulo S. Ndebele (1994).

19. Preparing Ourselves for Freedom: Albie Sachs (1990).

Part IV: Creativity in/and Adversarial Contexts:.

20. A Voice That Would Not Be Silenced: Wole Soyinka (2001).

21. Exile and Creativity: A Prolonged Writer’s Block: Micere Githae Mugo (1997).

22. Containing Cockroaches (Memories of Incarceration Reconstructed in Exile): Jack Mapanje (1997).

23. Writing Against Neo-Colonialism: Ngugi wa Thiong’O (1988).

24. The Writer and Responsibility: Breyten Bretenbach (1983).

25. Dissidence and Creativity: Nawal El Saadawi (1996).

26. Culture Beyond Color? A South African Dilemma: Zoë Wicomb (1993).

27. In Praise of Exile: Nuruddin Farah (1990).

28. The African Writer’s Experience of European Literature: D. Marechera (1987).

Part V: On Nativism and the Quest for Indigenous Aesthetics: Negritude and Traditionalism:.

29. Negritude: A Humanism of the Twentieth Century: Léopold Sédar Senghor (1970).

30. What is Négritude?: Abiola Irele (1977).

31. Negritude and a New Africa: An Update: Peter S. Thompson (2002).

32. Prodigals, Come Home!: Chinweizu (1973).

33. Neo-Tarzanism: The Poetics of Pseudo-Tradition: Wole Soyinka (1975).

34. My Signifier is More Native than Yours: Issues in Making a Literature African: Adélékè Adéèkó (1998).

35. Out of Africa: Topologies of Nativism: Kwame Anthony Appiah (1988).

36. On National Culture: Frantz Fanon (1963).

37. True and False Pluralism: Paulin Hountondji (1973).

38. “An Open Letter to Africans” c/o The Punic One-Party State: Sony Labou Tansi (1990).

39. Resistance Theory/Theorizing Resistance or Two Cheers for Nativism: Benita Parry (1994).

Part VI: The Language of African Literature:.

40. The Dead End of African Literature: Obiajunwa Wali (1963).

41. The Language of African Literature: Ngugi wa Thiong’O (1986).

42. Anamnesis in the Language of Writing: Assia Djebar (1999).

43. African-Language Literature: Tragedy and Hope: Daniel P. Kunene (1992).

Part VII: On Genres:.

44. Background to the West African Novel: Emmanuel N. Obiechina (1975).

45. Languages of the Novel: A Lover’s Reflections: André Brink (1998).

46. Realism and Naturalism in African Fiction: Neil Lazarus (1987).

47. “Who Am I?”: Fact and Fiction in African First-Person Narrative: Mineke Schipper (1989).

48. Festivals, Ritual, and Drama in Africa: Tejumola Olaniyan (2004).

49. The Fourth Stage: Through the Mysteries of Ogun to the Origin of Yoruba Tragedy: Wole Soyinka (1973).

50. Introduction to King Oedipus: Tawfiq Al-Hakim (1949).

51. Poetry as Dramatic Performance: Kofi Anyidoho (1991).

52. “Azikwelwa” (We Will Not Ride): Politics and Value in Black South African Poetry: Anne McClintock (1987).

53. Revolutionary Practice and Style in Lusophone Liberation Poetry: Emmanuel Ngara (1990).

Part VIII: Theorizing the Criticism of African Literature:.

54. Academic Problems and Critical Techniques: Eldred D. Jones (1965).

55. African Literature, Western Critics: Rand Bishop (1988).

56. A Formal Approach to African Literature: Kenneth W. Harrow (1990).

57. African Absence, a Literature without a Voice: Ambroise Kom (1997).

58. The Nature of Things: Arrested Decolonization and Critical Theory: Biodun Jeyifo (1990).

59. Reading through Western Eyes: Christopher L. Miller (1990).

60. The Logic of Agency in African Literary Criticism: Olakunle George (2003).

61. Exclusionary Practices in African Literary Criticism: Florence Stratton (1994).

Part IX: Marxism:.

62. Towards a Marxist Sociology of African Literature: Omafume F. Onoge (1986).

63. Writers in Politics: The Power of Words and the Words of Power: Ngugi wa Thiong’O (1997).

64. National Liberation and Culture: Amilcar Cabral (1970).

65. Concerning National Culture: Agostinho Neto (1979).

66. Masks and Marx: The Marxist Ethos vis-à-vis African Revolutionary Theory and Praxis: Ayi Kwei Armah (1985).

67. Marxist Aesthetics: An Open-Ended Legacy: Chidi Amuta (1989).

Part X: Feminism:.

68. To Be an African Woman Writer – an Overview and a Detail: Ama Ata Aidoo (1988).

69. The Heroine in Arab Literature: Nawal El Saadawi (1980).

70. Women and Creative Writing in Africa: Flora Nwapa (1998).

71. African Motherhood – Myth and Reality: Lauretta Ngcobo (1988).

72. Stiwanism: Feminism in an African Context: Molara Ogundipe-Leslie (1994).

73. Feminism with a Small “f”: Buchi Emecheta (1988).

74. Writing Near the Bone: Yvonne Vera (1997).

75. Some Notes on African Feminism: Carole Boyce Davies (1986).

76. Bringing African Women into the Classroom: Rethinking Pedagogy and Epistemology: Obioma Nnaemeka (1994).

77. Enlightenment Epistemology and the Invention of Polygyny: Uzo Esonwanne (1997).

78. Feminism, Postcolonialism and the Contradictory Orders of Modernity: Ato Quayson (2000).

Part XI: Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Postcolonialism, and Postmodernism:.

79. Genetic Structuralism as a Critical Technique (Notes Toward a Sociological Theory of the African.

Novel): Sunday O. Anozie (1971).

80. In Praise of Alienation: Abiola Irele (1987).

81. In the Wake of Colonialism and Modernity: Biodun Jeyifo (2000).

82. Postructuralism and Postcolonial Discourse: Simon Gikandi (2004).

83. Subjectivity and History: Derrida in Algeria: Robert J. C. Young (2001).

84. The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term “Post-colonialism”: Anne McClintock (1994).

85. Postmodernity, Postcoloniality, and African Studies: Tejumola Olaniyan (2003).

86. Postcolonialism and Postmodernism: Ato Quayson (2000).

87. Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial?: Kwame Anthony Appiah (1991).

88. Postmodernism and Black Writing in South Africa: Lewis Nkosi (1998).

89. African-Language Literature and Postcolonial Criticism: Karin Barber (1995).

Part XII: Ecocriticism:.

90. Ecoing the Other(s): The Call of Global Green and Black African Responses: William Slaymaker (2001).

91. Different Shades of Green: Ecocriticism and African Literature: Byron Caminero-Santangelo (2007).

92. Ecological Postcolonialism in African Women’s Literature: Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abbenyi (1998).

93. Environmentalism and Postcolonialism: Rob Nixon (2005).

Part XIII: Queer, Postcolonial:.

94. “Wheyting Be Dat?”: The Treatment of Homosexuality in African Literature: Chris Dunton (1989).

95. Out in Africa: Gaurav Desai (1997).

96. Toward a Lesbian Continuum? Or Reclaiming the Erotic: Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abbenyi (1997).

97. Queer Futures: The Coming-Out Novel in South Africa: Brenna Munro (2007).


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