Bearing Witness: Readers, Writers, and the Novel in Nigeria

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Overview

"This is a major project that will confirm Wendy Griswold's status as one of the premier sociologists of literature working today. It is singular in the way it systematizes and enriches our understanding of the context in which literature is produced and how context shapes the content of the work. That Griswold does this for Africa is even more remarkable.... That Nigeria is the most populous African country with one of the most lively literary cultures makes the book even more significant for our understanding of intellectual production in cultural peripheries. This topic is likely to become increasingly important as we become more aware of the impact of globalization processes on national cultures."--Michle Lamont, Princeton University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Winner of the 2002 Best Book Award

"By using extensive interviews with publishers, booksellers, and readers, along with surveys and her own insights into the novels, Griswold offers on of the few truly comprehensive views of the world of literature in Africa. It is also a wonderfully optimistic book that suggests the vitality of the written word in contemporary Nigerian life."--Choice

"Griswold wears her learning lightly, using footnotes to show broader debates, keeping her text uncluttered. . . . Bearing Witness provides a useful counterbalance to much detached, contemporary literary criticism; it demonstrates the needs for novels to be examined by scholars from a variety of disciplines."--James Gibbs, World Literature Today

"It is rare to find an American scholar so committed to and successful in melding the approaches of the social sciences and the humanities as Griswold does."--Vera Zolberg, American Journal of Sociology

"To those readers who have explicit memories of Nigeria, whether good or not so good: Please read Wendy Griswold's Bearing Witness. And likewise to those who have never been to Nigeria: please read Grisworld's book. In other words, for anyone with an interest in historical political, cultural, and literary development in Nigeria (and Africa in general), Bearing Witness is a very good book."--Glen Bush, African Studies Review

Choice
By using extensive interviews with publishers, booksellers, and readers, along with surveys and her own insights into the novels, Griswold offers on of the few truly comprehensive views of the world of literature in Africa. It is also a wonderfully optimistic book that suggests the vitality of the written word in contemporary Nigerian life.
World Literature Today
Griswold wears her learning lightly, using footnotes to show broader debates, keeping her text uncluttered. . . . Bearing Witness provides a useful counterbalance to much detached, contemporary literary criticism; it demonstrates the needs for novels to be examined by scholars from a variety of disciplines.
— James Gibbs
American Journal of Sociology
It is rare to find an American scholar so committed to and successful in melding the approaches of the social sciences and the humanities as Griswold does.
— Vera Zolberg
African Studies Review
To those readers who have explicit memories of Nigeria, whether good or not so good: Please read Wendy Griswold's Bearing Witness. And likewise to those who have never been to Nigeria: please read Grisworld's book. In other words, for anyone with an interest in historical political, cultural, and literary development in Nigeria (and Africa in general), Bearing Witness is a very good book.
— Glen Bush
World Literature Today - James Gibbs
Griswold wears her learning lightly, using footnotes to show broader debates, keeping her text uncluttered. . . . Bearing Witness provides a useful counterbalance to much detached, contemporary literary criticism; it demonstrates the needs for novels to be examined by scholars from a variety of disciplines.
American Journal of Sociology - Vera Zolberg
It is rare to find an American scholar so committed to and successful in melding the approaches of the social sciences and the humanities as Griswold does.
African Studies Review - Glen Bush
To those readers who have explicit memories of Nigeria, whether good or not so good: Please read Wendy Griswold's Bearing Witness. And likewise to those who have never been to Nigeria: please read Grisworld's book. In other words, for anyone with an interest in historical political, cultural, and literary development in Nigeria (and Africa in general), Bearing Witness is a very good book.
World Literature Today
Griswold wears her learning lightly, using footnotes to show broader debates, keeping her text uncluttered. . . . Bearing Witness provides a useful counterbalance to much detached, contemporary literary criticism; it demonstrates the needs for novels to be examined by scholars from a variety of disciplines.
— James Gibbs
African Studies Review
To those readers who have explicit memories of Nigeria, whether good or not so good: Please read Wendy Griswold's Bearing Witness. And likewise to those who have never been to Nigeria: please read Grisworld's book. In other words, for anyone with an interest in historical political, cultural, and literary development in Nigeria (and Africa in general), Bearing Witness is a very good book.
— Glen Bush
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Product Details

Table of Contents


Figures ix
Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations xiii
Key Dates In Nigerian History xv
CHAPTER 1 To Understand the Novel in Nigeria 3
In Nigeria 6
The Novel 13
To Understand 17
CHAPTER 2 The Nigerian Fiction Complex 26
The Novels 29
The Writers 38
The Business 60
The Readers 88
CHAPTER 3 Nigerian Novels 120
Village and City 12 3
Women and Men 167
Pen and Sword 208
Crime and Politics 238
CHAPTER 4 Capturing the Past and Inventing the Future 269
APPENDIX A. Nigerian novels 275
APPENDIX B. Nigerian authors 288
APPENDIX C. Coding forms 292
Notes 297
Bibliography 323
INDEX 333
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