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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.
From The Whodunit? To The Whydunit?
From its very inception, detective fiction has enjoyed a great popularity among the young and the old, the learned and the not so learned. By some unfortunate stroke of irony, its respect has not kept pace with its enormous popularity. For over half a century now, it has remained the bane of creative writing. In strict intellectual circles, it is very rare to find people talk defensively and interestingly about the genre. Yet Asong has chosen to do just that. He has stoutly defended the weak by putting up a good case for its continued existence. He has also shown how irresistible key elements of the genre are to even the best respected novelists. Finally he has demonstrated for the first time, how the genre has been domesticated by African writers of very great repute such as Ngugi, Sembene and Lessing. That he has been able to prove that these writers have used techniques of detective fiction is a significant broadening of the horizons for appreciating creative writing in Africa.
African Literature, Environmental Justice, and Political Ecology
Engaging important discussions about social conflict, environmental change, and imperialism in Africa, Different Shades of Green points to legacies of African environmental writing, often neglected as a result of critical perspectives shaped by dominant Western conceptions of nature and environmentalism. Drawing on an interdisciplinary framework employing postcolonial studies, political ecology, environmental history, and writing by African environmental activists, Byron Caminero-Santangelo emphasizes connections within African environmental literature, highlighting how African writers have challenged unjust, ecologically destructive forms of imperial development and resource extraction.
Different Shades of Green also brings into dialogue a wide range of African creative writing—including works by Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Zakes Mda, Nuruddin Farah, Wangari Maathai, and Ken Saro-Wiwa—in order to explore vexing questions for those involved in the struggle for environmental justice, in the study of political ecology, and in the environmental humanities, urging continued imaginative thinking in effecting a more equitable, sustain¬able future in Africa.
Toward an Aesthetics of Transitional Justice
Drawing the Line examines the ways in which cultural, political, and legal lines are imagined, drawn, crossed, erased, and redrawn in post-apartheid South Africa through literary texts, artworks, and other forms of cultural production. Under the rubric of a philosophy of the limit and with reference to a range of signifying acts and events, this book asks what it takes to recalibrate a sociopolitical scene, shifting perceptions of what counts and what matters, of what can be seen and heard, of what can be valued or regarded as meaningful. The book thus argues for an aesthetics of transitional justice and makes an appeal for a postapartheid aesthetic inquiry, as opposed to simply a political or a legal one. Each chapter brings a South African artwork, text, speech, building, or social encounter into conversation with debates in critical theory and continental philosophy, asking: What challenge do these South African acts of signification and resignification pose to current literary-philosophical debates?
Regreening African Landscapes
Eco-Critical Literature: Regreening African Landscapescritically examines the representations, constructions, and imaginings of the relationship between the human and non-human worlds in contemporary African literature and culture. It offers innovative, incisive, and critical perspectives on the importance of sustaining a symbiotic relationship between humans and their environment. The book thus carries African scholarship beyond the mere analysis of themes and style to ethical and activist roles of literature having an impact on readers and the public. It is a scholarship geared towards rectifying ecological imbalance that is prevalent in many parts of the continent that forms the setting, context, and thematic discourse of the works or authors studied in this book. Besides sensitizing the African readership to the need for the restoration of harmony between man and the environment, this book equally aims to further familiarize scholars and students working on African literature and culture with the theoretical concerns of eco-criticism.
Anglophone Cameroon Literary Drama
Education of the Deprived is a perceptive socio-artistic examination of the key works of some major writers of Anglophone Cameroon literary drama today. For over two decades now socio-political developments in Cameroon, including the liberalization of the press, have led to an unprecedented proliferation of political, journalistic and imaginative writings. Availing themselves of their new-found freedom of expression, Cameroonians in general are forcefully articulating their views more than even before, and creative writers, in particular, are artistically recording intimate and painful experiences in the on-going endeavour to make sense of the socio-political environment; they are mapping out, through images and symbols, the peculiar contour of the collective Cameroonian soul. What observers have noticed, with regard to Anglophone Cameroon imaginative writing, however, is that there are few significant critical works to match the burgeoning creative literature. While in the 1970s there was a cry concerning the scarcity of imaginative works by Anglophone Cameroonians, the complaint now, at the turn of the 21st century, is that there is a dearth of critical literature capable of catapulting, on to the international literary scene, the Anglophone Cameroon literature being written. This book covers both traditional and modern drama as written by Anglophones, lays bare the technical differences between the two dramatic traditions, and brings out the central themes developed by these committed dramatists.
Ethics, Poetics, and Politics
In 2007 the French newspaper Le Monde published a manifesto titled “Toward a ‘World Literature’ in French,” signed by forty-four writers, many from France’s former colonies. Proclaiming that the francophone label encompassed people who had little in common besides the fact that they all spoke French, the manifesto’s proponents, the so-called francophone writers themselves, sought to energize a battle cry against the discriminatory effects and prescriptive claims of francophonie.
In one of the first books to study the movement away from the term “francophone” to “world literature in French,” Thérèse Migraine-George engages a literary analysis of contemporary works in exploring the tensions and theoretical debates surrounding world literature in French. She focuses on works by a diverse group of contemporary French-speaking writers who straddle continents—Nina Bouraoui, Hélène Cixous, Maryse Condé, Marie NDiaye, Tierno Monénembo, and Lyonel Trouillot. What these writers have in common beyond their use of French is their resistance to the centralizing power of a language, their rejection of exclusive definitions, and their claim for creative autonomy.