The Language of African Literature / Edition 1

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In this anthology, some of the most prolific and widely-read African novelists are analyzed - by some of the most advanced African linguists - from two divergent but mutually illuminating perspectives: a sophisticated linguistic and cultural analysis of their works as world-class literary products; and a "cross-cultural" analysis of the rich influence of one (or more) of the over-3,000 indigenous African languages on the English-language writing style of these African authors.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865435353
  • Publisher: Africa World Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 298

Read an Excerpt


The Stylistic Significance of the Graphological Structure of Taban lo Liyong's "Another Nigger Dead" by Ogo A. Ofuani

Criticisms of Taban lo Liyong's poetic form, particularly in "Another Nigger Dead," have tended to disregard totally or to gloss over cursorily the peculiar nature of the typographic/graphological shape of his poems, dismissing it as merely incidental and nonfunctional.

Adrian Roscoe, for instance, sees him as "eccentric" and passes off the use of lowercase letters without punctuation as merely "curious." Roscoe does not consider the possibility of lo Liyong using lowercase letters in "Another Nigger Dead" for significant stylistic effects, especially since earlier, in "Frantz Fanon's Uneven Ribs", the poet had been more conventional in the use of forms that he now openly and constantly deviates from. In the same vein, Timothy Wangusa says that

"In form and expression he is among the very "freest" verse writers, defying all rules and guides. And yet a central preoccupation of his poetry is that of the very nature of poetry."

Recognizing lo Liyong's "preoccupation" with the nature of poetry is one thing, but realizing that it may be responsible for his own practice of the art - and that he expects his practice to be taken seriously - is another. Wangusa does come close to making an evaluation of the stylistic import of lo Liyong's "free" verse but shies away at the last moment.

In his review of the collection, Eldred Jones not only considers thematic issues but also ponders the linguistic significance of the medium. His evaluation, however, is marred by the imprecision that characterizes that of other critics. To Jones, the poet's ideas "sometimes straight, sometimes ironic, serious, parallel, contrasting, are massed together to produce a prickly, jumpy effect" in "Another Nigger Dead." About lo Liyong's graphical deviation, he observes that "for the eye alone the poetry seems to flow, but for everything else... lack of punctuation slows down comprehension." This suggests that lo Liyong's nonuse of punctuation is unnecessary nuisance.

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Table of Contents

Literature of the General Area
Language as Sensation: The Use of Poetic and Evocative Language in Five African Autobiographies 3
Translation: a Distinctive Feature of African Literature in English 19
West African Literature
Toward a Speech-Act Approach to Nigerian Literature in English 41
Code-Switching in Soyinka's The Interpreters 57
The Language of Passion in Soyinka's The Interpreters: A Stylistic Analysis 73
The Styles of Abiku: Two Related Diatypes of English 81
Densely Speaking: To Do Or Not To Do: A Comparative Stylistic Analysis of Soyinka's and Clark's Poems 89
The Syntax and Semantics of "Idanre" Noun Phrases: A Linguistic Spectacle 103
The Development of Code in Soyinka's The Road: A Stylistic Analysis 113
Rhetorical and Linguistic Games in Comic Aesthetics 153
Indirectness in Discourse: A Study in Paradoxical Communication Among the Igbos 169
D.O. Fagunwa's Narratives: A Rhetorical Analysis 185
East African Literature
Lexical Cohesion in Okot p'Bitek's: A Song of Prisoner 205
The Stylistic Significance of the Graphological Structure of Taban lo Liyong's: Another Nigger Dead 229
Taban lo Liyong's The Uniformed Man: A Reconstructivist and Metafictional Parody of Modernism 251
South African Literature
Register as a Function of Contextualization: A Survey of the Southern African Variety of English 265
Contributors 289
Index 291
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