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Critical Perspectives on Cameroon Writing

Hansel Ndumbe Eyoh, Albert Azeyeh

Publication Year: 2013

This landmark volume brings together a very rich harvest of forty critical essays on Cameroon literature by Cameroon literary scholars. The book is the result of the Second Conference on Cameroon Literature which took place at the University of Buea in 1994. The Buea conference was motivated by a determination to look at Cameroon literature straight into its face and criticize it using literary criteria of the strictest kind. Gone were the times when the criticism was complacent because it was believed that a nascent literature could easily be stifled by application of rather strict cannons of literary criticism. Both writers and critics had a lot to say. Subjects dealt with ranged from general topics on literature, survival and national identity, through specialized articles on prose, poetry, drama, translation, language, folklore, childrenís literature, Journalism and politics. It is the hope of the volume editors that the publication of these papers will instigate the kind of actions that were recommended and that the prolific nature of Cameroon literature will equally give rise to a prolific and robust criticism.

Published by: African Books Collective

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-3

Contents

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pp. iii-ix

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Foreword

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pp. x-xiii

It has been observed that Cameroon literature is very rich, yet criticism of this has for a long time been the preserve of foreigners rather than nationals, who seem to think that they ought to consume that which comes from abroad and ignore that which is produced within their country. ...

Speeches

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1. Welcome Address Presented By the Vice-chancellor of the University of Buea Dr. Dorothy L. Njeuma

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pp. 3-6

After the University of Yaoundé II at Soa, the University of Yaoundé I at NgoaEkele and the University of Ngaoundere, it is the turn of the University of Buea to receive Your Excellency, Minister of Higher Education, and Dr. Peter Agbor Tabi. We are highly honoured indeed, that you have been able to find the lime in your very busy schedule to be here today ...

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2. Speech by Minister of Higher Education, Professor Peter Agbor Tabi

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pp. 7-12

It gives me great pleasure to officiate at the opening ceremony of this major cultural event which brings together distinguished writers and critics. It is a clear indication that the University of Buea, in keeping with its mission statement, cherishes freedom of academic expression and the dissemination of knowledge for the good of mankind and excellence. ...

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3. Keynote Address: Bole Butake, “The Writer as Visionary.”

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pp. 13-26

I will begin my discourse by showing proof that I know who I am. My name is Bole Butake; born on July 28, 1947, of peasant parents in Nkor, the headquarters of present-day Noni Sub-Division, in Bui Division not Meme Division as many people have often thought. ...

General

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4. Une nécrologie: La critique littéraire au Cameroun

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pp. 29-36

II peut paraître paradoxal que dans un pays ou la littérature est des plus florissantes et qui compte des critiques dynamiques, bardés de diplômes, un tour d’horizon de l’activité critique commence par une nécrologie. Sans doute me fait-on le reproche de toujours réver à la cité parfaite mais que représente la production critique réelle ...

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5. The Indigenous and the Alien in Cameroon Writing

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pp. 37-54

Although Cameroon has made tremendous progress with the written word, a tradition inherited from the West, the dominant mode of cultural transmission remains the spoken word. Cameroon Writing is contextualized within a triple heritage of indigenous imperatives, Eastern traditions and Western legacies, ...

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6. Le dépassement ethnique: esquisse d’une théorie de l’identité.

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pp. 55-76

Le dépassement ethnique est un essai de théorisation d’un problème dont dépend la survie de notre société ou la figuration de notre identité. Le problème est de savoir si l’ethnie est une donnée éternelle pour l’Afrique en général et pour le Cameroun en particulier, donnée qu’il faut par conséquent assumer et entériner en l’état ou si, ...

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7. La Ville et La création littéraire Camerounaise

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pp. 77-86

La source première de la création littéraire n’a pas cessé d’animer des débats dans le champ de la critique. Chaque école en arrive à illustrer une position particulière. Avant la nouvelle critique qui dénie toute influence externe dans la gestation d’une oeuvre, de nombreuses considérations ont été exploitées. ...

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8. Trends in Female Names in Cameroon: An Expression of Self-Affirmation?

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pp. 87-96

Feminism which has held sway since the mid-seventies has persistently urged for equal rights and opportunities in all domains of life for the both genders. In order to achieve such objectives feminists have moved from a concern with general identity to difference, from a concern with incompleteness to wholeness, ...

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9. Littérature Camerounaise en Français: voix et voies d’aujourd’hui

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pp. 97-112

Par une espèce de reflexe ou d’inconscient collectif, l’on a tendance, parlant littérature camerounaise en français, a toujours focaliser le discours sur ceux qui en ont assis la réputation depuis l’époque coloniale jusqu’aux premières decénnies de l’indépendance. Mongo Béti, Ferdinand Oyono, Francesco Ditsouna, ...

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10. Toward a More Humanized World: The Moral Obligation of Africa’s Intellectuals: The Case of Cameroon

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pp. 113-126

Africa has always gone down badly into history books as the continent with gruesome stories and gory sights. Talk to many people in Europe and about this continent and all they know of the land is dreadfully malnourished children, frightfully looking AIDS patients, skeletal and starving wretches sitting in the squalor of our city slums. ...

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11. Literature in Anglophone Cameroon and the African Context: Towards a Sociology of Cameroon Anglophone Writing

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pp. 127-134

At this point in time when we are talking of a conference on Cameroon Literature, it would also be necessary to attempt sociology of Cameroon literature. Examining relevant e literature we thought it worthwhile to narrow down to a sociological analysis of Anglophone Cameroon Writing. Two reasons justify our approach. ...

Folklore

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12. L ‘Envers d’Oedipe ou les ooze travaux de Djeki

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pp. 137-148

Mise en scène de la conception qui a notre société traditionnelle des bons rapports qui devraient présider entre les hommes, entre ceux-ci et la nature entière, ainsi que de l’intérêt de la connaissance de ces lois pour la réussite de l’ensemble du corps social, le mythe de DJEKI LA NJAMBE s’avère être un véhicule fantastique de communication ...

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13. Folklore and Identity: Lessons for Cameroon

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pp. 149-156

Igbos of Nigeria proverbially contend that “the firewood which a people have ‘adequate for the kind of cooking they do”. (Achebe, 1975: 17) This is an ‘on testable fact, for no amount of carefully selected wood, for instance, will help in the preparation of salad. ...

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14. Les merveilleux exploits de Djeki la Njambe: de l’epopee, à la scène ou les méandres d’une adaptation théâtrale

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pp. 157-176

La présente communication est un maillon d’une longue cogitation sur la recherche de modèles authentiques, réponses à la dérive morale et sociale connue aujourd’hui par la jeunesse africaine désarçonnée et existante dans nos sociétés en mal d’héroïsme et de valeurs. (Etonde- Ekoro, 1990). ...

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15. Folk Tales Tradition and the Modern Short Story in Anglophone Cameroon Writing: from Signifying to Moralizing

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pp. 177-194

Oral tradition is a medium through which Africans have always expressed, cultures, Folktales were the first forms of literary expression used to transmit norms, traditions and general modes of life. Full of wisdom, the stories were meant convey a real philosophy of life and to teach moral lessons. ...

Prose

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pp. 195-196

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16. Prisoner Without a Crime d’Albert Mukong: Une étude de l’univers carcéral

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pp. 197-200

Le livre d’Albert Mukong, Prisoner without a crime (1) n’est pas une oeuvre fiction. C’est le témoignage d’un homme, l’histoire d’un destin. La nature autobiographique de ce texte ne lui dénie pas les inspirations annexes qu’il contient. Il peut apparaître tour à tour historique: il série alors des faits, des particule déictiques à valeur temporelle. ...

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17. The Black Condition: Material Wretchedness Versus Moral Integrity in Remy Gilbert Medou-Mvomo’s Le Journal De Faliou

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pp. 201-216

Few Cameroonian authors in search of self-fulfilment and wholesome have been so committed, penetrating and outspoken in depicting the wretched pathetic condition of the black man both at home and abroad, as Remy Gilbert Medou-Mvomo. ...

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18. A Socio-linguistic Appreciation of Asong’s the Crown of Thorns

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pp. 217-230

The objective of this paper is to analyse Asong’s first novel from a sociolinguistic perspective. Based on the theories enunciated by Saussure, Barthes, and Stubbs, The Crown of Thorns is read as a semiological system with a system of structures. It is the amalgamation of these language systems with a system or level of discourse ...

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19. Isn’t Woman Woman’s Worst Enemy? An Appraisal of the Feminism of Liking and Beyala

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pp. 231-250

In the past two decades Cameroonian women have moved from the margin to the centre of literary creation. Though for a long time they had played second fiddle in that area, as they still do in so many others in the mainstream society. the vibrancy of Rabiatou Njoya, Roselyn Jua, Calixthe Beyala and Were Were Liking (to name but a few), ...

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20. Rectification et infinnation, “L’image de l’homme chez deux romancières camerounaises

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pp. 251-264

Qu’il soit père ou frère, époux ou amant, l’homme apparaît généralement dans l’émergeante écriture féminine d’Afrique noire francophone comme la source consciente ou inconsciente des malheurs de sa congénère. L’inconstance, l’infidélité et la duplicité représentent les lieux des discours d’Un chant éclate (1981), ...

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21. A Psychoanalytical Reading of Asong’s No Way to Die

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pp. 265-280

Psychoanalytic interpretation of African works of art in general and Cameroonian in particular are rare. Even though psychoanalytic criticism can be traced to Sigmund Freud or even earlier it has rarely been applied to elucidate or explicate works of art to illustrate the multiplicity of meanings which could be found in many of our artistically conceived masterpieces. ...

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22. The Impact of Social and Cultural Change in the Novels of Linus Asong

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pp. 281-288

This paper sets out to examine the impact of social and cultural change on Cameroonians as reflected in The Crown of Thorns (1990) and its sequel, A Legend of the Dead (1993) by the Cameroonian writer, Linus Asong. ...

Drama

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23. Pedagogy of the Deprived: A Study of the Plays of Victor Epie Ngome, Bole Butake and Bate Besong

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pp. 291-306

Marxist critics have convincingly established the fact that every literature is essentially socially-conditioned, and that every major literary work is a reflection of the spirit of the society of which it is a product. This principle is generally borne out by the plays of three Anglophone Cameroonian writers: ...

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24. The Cattle of Lake God: Symbolism and Meaning

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pp. 307-314

Bole Butake is widely acclaimed as one of Cameroon’s leading playwrights. The reason for this is to be sought both in the steadfastness with which he has maintained himself among his country’s front-line artists and in the talent which reveals itself in his plays. ...

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25. L’exotisme dans Trois prétendants: un mari de Guillaume Oyono Mbia

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pp. 315-324

Guillaume Oyono Mbia est sans doute le plus grand dramaturge camerounais depuis l’Indépendance. Trois prétendants ... un mari (éditions de 1989) est sans conteste, son chef-d’oeuvre et, en tant que sa première pièce, une oeuvre matricielle. Il y fait voir entre autres sujets, le fait exotique. ...

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26. Theatre Universitaire et instances en post-colonie

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pp. 325-338

Le théâtre, art populaire par excellence, pose problème quand il est abordé du point de vue de l’université, espace réservé à une infirme élite. Dans les ex-colonies où l’université est d’implantation récente, il reflète la confrontation en cette élite et le petit peuple, le raffinement et le commun, l’irréfléchi et le spontané, etc. ...

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27. The Literary Podium and the Political Pulpit: Medium and Message in Anglophone Cameroon Drama

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pp. 339-360

The argument as to whether the primary purpose of literature is to teach to please is probably as old as criticism itself but is still far from a definite conclusion. Those who are more inclined to art for art’s sake hold that the primary goal of literature is to please. Critics who feel that the creative writer must show commitment ...

Language

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28. The English Language in Cameroon: The Pre-Colonial Period

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pp. 363-378

The history and development of the English language in Cameroon may be divided into several periods, prominent among which is the pre-colonial period. It spans from the first possible mention of the Cameroon coast in 500 BC to 12 July 1884, the date when Cameroon was made a German protectorate. ...

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29. Littérature camerounaise d’expression Anglaise: Usage et influence française

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pp. 379-392

L’usage du français se ressent notamment à travers l’emploi des mots français, des noms de lieux, des noms de personnes et de dialogues énoncé en français. Quant à l’influence du français, soulignons les cas d’interférence linguistique et l’emploi des faux équivalents anglais des termes français. ...

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30. La littérature africaine la conquête de son identité culturelle: Itinéraire linguistique des écrivains camerounais à la recherché d’une parole culturelle

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pp. 393-414

La création littéraire africaine repose sur trois principes qui ont pratiquement valeur d’axiomes: l’utilisation des langues européennes héritées de la colonisation comme mode de médiation linguistique, l’inféodation du discours littéraire dans les cultures négro-africaines, le désir pour tout écrivain de produire des oeuvres modernes authentiquement africaines. ...

Children’s Literature

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31. Children’s Literature in Cameroon: A Partnership Model for its Development and Promotion

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pp. 417-426

Good literature written by Cameroonians for the Cameroonian child can be described as best as still in its infancy and at worst as nonexisting. A review of the few existing works largely in poetry will be the subject of a separate paper. Adult literature, however, is being given considerable attention by Cameroon writers. ...

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32. Children’s Literature in Cameroon: A Review II

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pp. 427-438

I came to realise as soon as I had a child of my own growing up, that the question of education for children in Africa was really very complex. Especially for those of us you might call the middle class. who are not in the villages? We are at cosmopolitan centres, and the predominant culture of those centres are from Europe. ...

History and Journalism

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33. A Survey of Cameroon’s New English Language Newspaper

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pp. 441-452

After more than 30 years of existence. Cameroon’s English I newspaper has come through a number of changes. There have been periods of newspaper proliferation and periods when newspapers were rare to find. going boom in newspaper publication started after 1990 and promises to c face of the Cameroon English language newspaper. ...

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34. The Emergence and Strengthening of Democratic Pluralism in Cameroon

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pp. 453-468

In the first place it has made it plain for all to see that the most urgent issues facing the Third World countries today are political in nature. Second, there is no longer any ambiguity about the meaning of democracy. The demand for democratic pluralism emerged rather suddenly and was voiced simultaneously in several parts of Cameroon ...

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35. John Ngu Foncha and the Saga of Southern Cameroons’ Quest for Reunification, 1956-1961 - A Re-appraisal

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pp. 469-484

The history of Cameroon has, of late, come under severe reexamination. Although the re-writing of Cameroon’s history, intentionally or not, has been a slow and painful exercise, it however gathered momentum after 1990 following the reintroduction of multiparty politics, albeit characterized by sentimentalism. ...

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36. Protest Journalism as a Literary Genre: The Case of Anglophone Cameroon Journalism Today

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pp. 485-496

As the title suggests, this paper argues that protest or liberation journalism has a lot in common with creative or imaginative writing, and that it could be considered a form of literature. The paper takes Anglophone journalism example of how journalists can perpetuate myths, legends, and fairy tales with the same creative imagination, ...

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37. Press and National Liberation: Historical and Contemporary Cameroon Perspectives

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pp. 497-512

Facts are stubborn things and journalism is a profession which generates debates about facts, opinions and claims. Such role makes the journalists and government natural adversaries with entirely different functions. ...

Translation

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38. Translation or Transcreation: To What Extent is Translating Creative Writing a Creative Activity

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pp. 515-522

As the years elapse, more and more Cameroonians seem to be taking to creative writing, especially those of English-speaking expression, as we are wont to call them. A number of us have grown up to enjoy great classics a good many of which, even if we sometimes do not realise it, are indeed translations. ...

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39. Survival and Identity of African Literature: A Perspective of the Role of Translation

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pp. 523-540

This paper seeks to discuss the importance of translation at a time when African literature, especially in European languages of colonisation, is struggling maintain its identity and ensure its survival in a world dominated by the Western civilizations whose languages it uses. ...

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40. The Translation of Stylistic Devices In Rene Philombe’s Short Stories

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pp. 541-550

Cameroon is a bi-cultural and bilingual country whose official languages are English and French. Translation of literary works of French expression into English and vice versa could contribute a great deal not only in exposing the country’s bicultural and bilingual population to each other’s literary traditions ...

41. Conference Recommendations

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pp. 551-554

Back cover

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p. 569-569


E-ISBN-13: 9789956790715
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956790814

Page Count: 568
Publication Year: 2013