Meditations On African Literature

Overview

While African literature is presently enjoying much attention from the scholarly community, its heritage and identity are becoming less clearly defined. While Africa has a rich oral tradition, African writers find themselves writing in the languages of their colonial oppressors. So too, many of the best African writers now live outside Africa, particularly in North America. Much of the criticism of African literature is written by American professors, African writers sometimes teach their literature at American ...

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Overview

While African literature is presently enjoying much attention from the scholarly community, its heritage and identity are becoming less clearly defined. While Africa has a rich oral tradition, African writers find themselves writing in the languages of their colonial oppressors. So too, many of the best African writers now live outside Africa, particularly in North America. Much of the criticism of African literature is written by American professors, African writers sometimes teach their literature at American universities, and American publishers issue African literary works. At the same time, the political climate of many African countries has been detrimental to literacy and writing. This book explores many of the issues currently facing African literature.

Each chapter is written by an expert contributor, to provide the volume with a broad coverage of numerous topics related to the present state of African literature. The opening chapters examine issues of language and postcoloniality in African literary works. Later chapters discuss such concerns as the formation of an African literary canon, representations of history and ideology in African writing, the role of women in African literature, and African ritual theater. Through its various chapters, the volume makes clear that African writers continue to engage pressing social and political issues, and that they are intellectuals rather than entertainers.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Arguing that most of the best African writers and critics now reside in the US, and that literacy and literary activity have virtually stopped in Africa itself, scholars in the US and Nigeria survey contemporary literature by Africans throughout the world. Among the topics are the cacophonous terrain of Nigerian and African literature, historicity and the un-Eve-ing of the African woman in Achebe's novels, and Africa and Caribbean theater. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

DUBEM OKAFOR teaches world literature and African and postcolonial literatures at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Cacophonous Terrain of Nigerian/African Literature 1
2 Language, Theory, and Modern African Literature: Some More Questions 17
3 On the Concept: "Commonwealth Literature" 35
4 Who Counts? De-Ciphering the Canon 45
5 Five Nigerian Novels and Public Morality 55
6 Things Fall Apart: Problems in Constructing an Alternative Ethnography 71
7 Historicity and the Un-Eve-ing of the African Woman: Achebe's Novels 79
8 "Over-Determined Contradictions": History and Ideology in Achebe's A Man of the People 89
9 The True Fantasies of Grace Ogot, Storyteller 101
10 The Anglo-African, the "Woman Question," and Imperial Discourse 119
11 Impersonation in Some African Ritual and Festival Performances 133
12 Exile and Home: Africa in Caribbean Theater 149
13 One Year in the First Instance 159
Select Bibliography 175
Index 185
About the Contributors 191
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