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African identities have been written and rewritten in both British and African literature for decades. These revisions have opened up new formulations of what it really means to be British or African.
By comparing texts by authors from African and British backgrounds across a wide variety of political orientations, Simon Lewis analyzes the deeper relationships between colonizer and colonized. He brings issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality into the analysis, providing new ways for cultural scholars to think about how empire and colony have impacted one another from the late eighteenth century through the decades following World War II.
In his comparisons, Lewis focuses on commonalities rather than differences. By examining the work of writers including Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, T. S. Eliot, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Zoe Wicomb, Yvette Christianse, and Chris van Wyk, he demonstrates how Britain’s former African colonies influence British culture just as much as African culture was influenced by British colonization.
Lewis brings a uniquely informed perspective to the topic, having lived in South Africa, Tanzania, and Great Britain, and having taught African literature for over a decade. The book demonstrates his expert knowledge of local cultural history from 1945 to the present, in both Africa and Britain.
Initially considered something of a black sheep within the Anglophone Cameroon literary genres, the Anglophone novel has gradually grown to carve out a respectable niche for itself in the Anglophone Cameroon sub-system, imposing itself in a way that makes it impossible for critics to ignore it. Now a vibrant genre, it even threatens to overtake drama and poetry, both of which have enjoyed more critical attention. This book is a study of how Anglophone Cameroon has contributed in extending the possibilities of the novel as a literary form, and of some of the established conventions necessary for a fruitful evaluation of the growing body of the Cameroonian novel in English. In this eclectic and compelling book, Ambanasom sets out to achieve three primary objectives: to introduce the reader to the extensive body of Cameroonian novels in English, to re-examine the distorting and limiting criteria upon which the critical assessment of the Cameroonian novel in English has so far been based, and to bridge the widening chasm between literary theory and actual critical practice. To achieve these objectives, Ambanasom begins by elaborating an alternative and flexible theoretical framework which he christens the 'Socio-Artistic Approach' and which, according to him, is 'concerned with both a text's thematic, moral, cultural or ideological issues, on the one hand, and its central literary analysis, on the other.' He then proceeds to use this new critical framework to examine twenty-seven major Cameroonian novels in English. There are critical voices, already emerging within the Anglophone Cameroonian literary circles, calling for rigorous teaching and practice of theory in the interpretation of literary works, setting in motion a critical discourse. Such a call is salutary, and welcome. Those university lecturers whose responsibility it is to teach theoretical courses should take this call very seriously, moving from theory to hands-on practice. This book is Ambanasom's contribution to that critical debate.
Illuminations from Africa
Chinua Achebe�s novels and essays have always drawn our attention to issues of memory, the story, history and our own obligation to history as Africans. Achebe constantly goes back to the authority of narrative � the story; and as the subsequent generations of African writers like Chimamanda Adichie keep returning to, to celebrate Africa�s many stories, its moments of failure and triumph. Achebe, more than any other writer on this continent, has inspired many, and hopefully the African story tellers of the coming centuries, irrespective of their location will continue to be inspired by him. This collection of essays is an enduring tribute to this rich legacy of Achebe.
North Africa, Victimization, and Colonial History
Cinema in an Age of Terror looks at how cinematic representations of colonial-era victimization inform our understanding of the contemporary age of terror. By examining works representing colonial history and the dynamics of spectatorship emerging from them, Michael F. O’Riley reveals how the centrality of victimization in certain cinematic representations of colonial history can help us understand how the desire to occupy the victim’s position is a dangerous and blinding drive that frequently plays into the vision of terrorism. Films such as The Battle of Algiers, Days of Glory, Caché, and recent works by Maghrebien filmmakers all exemplify, in different ways, how this focus on victimization can become a problematic perspective—one in fact seeking to occupy ideological territory. Their return of colonial history to our contemporary context, although frequently problematic, enables us to see how victimization is very much about territory—cultural, spatial, and ideological—and how resistance to new forms of imperialist warfare and terror today must be located outside these haunting images from colonial history. Although such images of victimization ultimately only return as spectacular acts that draw our attention away from the cyclical contest over territory that they embody, those images nonetheless have the last word. Michael F. O’Riley is an associate professor of French and Italian at Colorado College. He is the author of Francophone Culture and the Postcolonial Fascination with Ethnic Crimes and Colonial Aura and Postcolonial Haunting and Victimization: Assia Djebar’s New Novels.
Rewriting Mexico in the Thirties and Forties
In the years following the Mexican Revolution, a nationalist and masculinist image of Mexico emerged through the novels of the Revolution, the murals of Diego Rivera, and the movies of Golden Age cinema. Challenging this image were the Contemporáneos, a group of writers whose status as outsiders (sophisticated urbanites, gay men, women) gave them not just a different perspective, but a different gaze, a new way of viewing the diverse Mexicos that exist within Mexican society. In this book, Salvador Oropesa offers original readings of the works of five Contemporáneos—Salvador Novo, Xavier Villaurrutia, Agustín Lazo, Guadalupe Marín, and Jorge Cuesta—and their efforts to create a Mexican literature that was international, attuned to the realities of modern Mexico, and flexible enough to speak to the masses as well as the elites. Oropesa discusses Novo and Villaurrutia in relation to neo-baroque literature and satiric poetry, showing how these inherently subversive genres provided the means of expressing difference and otherness that they needed as gay men. He explores the theatrical works of Lazo, Villaurrutia’s partner, who offered new representations of the closet and of Mexican history from an emerging middle-class viewpoint. Oropesa also looks at women’s participation in the Contemporáneos through Guadalupe Marín, the sometime wife of Diego Rivera and Jorge Cuesta, whose novels present women’s struggles to have a view and a voice of their own. He concludes the book with Novo’s self-transformation from intellectual into celebrity, which fulfilled the Contemporáneos’ desire to merge high and popular culture and create a space where those on the margins could move to the center.
Fifty years after most francophone African countries gained independence, the concept of "engagement" is undergoing a change in both terminology and practice as contemporary francophone African writers expand their forms of commitment to include aesthetics, in addition to politics, and to broaden their context to that of world literature. Cazenave and Célérier offer both an overview of this transition and an analysis of the literature of these writers.
Essays in Honor of Michael J. C. Echeruo
In African studies, the “Echeruoan ideal” is understood as an intervention or intellectual engagement characterized by a broadness of vision as well as a depth of analysis. The essays gathered in this volume celebrate that ideal and honor Echeruo’s contribution to the African intellectual tradition. Editors Nwosu and Obiwu explore the driving forces in the literature of Africa and the African diaspora. Contributors examine such themes as migration and exile, trauma and repression, violence and rebellion, and gender and human rights. Showcasing a rich diversity of cultural and academic backgrounds, this volume inaugurates a new paradigm for further examination of African literature as world literature and for analysis of African literature through the lens of psychoanalytic semiotics. While varied in modes of inquiry, the essays are unified in their ambition to explore new theoretical directions, reinvigorating the conversation around how African literature is read and studied.
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.
Crossing Borders showcases intellectual attempts to commit the process of African interrogation of postcoloniality and postmodernity to the exploration of perspectives on black identities and interactions of contemporary cultural expressions beyond the borders of Africa and across the Atlantic. We have particularised on theoretical and critical perspectives that show how the controversial influence of westernisation of Africa has demanded remedial visions and counteractive propositions to the cycle of abuses and fragmentation of the continent. We have consequently distilled some very significant historic and informative insights on modern African and black literary traditions methodically espoused to articulate the greater unity in the diversities, fusions and hybrids that have been embedded in the external and subjective realities of our universe.