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Literature > African Literature

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Dance of Life

The Novels of Zakes Mda in Post-apartheid South Africa

Gail Fincham

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Detective Fiction and The African Scene

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.

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Different Shades of Green

African Literature, Environmental Justice, and Political Ecology

Byron Caminero-Santangelo

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.

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Disciples of Passion

Hoda Barakat

Disciples of Passion chronicles the civil war in Lebanon through the troubled and sometimes quasi-hallucinatory mind of a young man who has experienced kidnapping, hostage exchange, and hospital internment. As he recalls his village childhood and recounts his relationship with a woman of a different faith , his fragmented narrative probes the uncertainties of political testimonial and ascriptions of responsibility in wartime.

Marilyn Booth's fluid translation brings to an English audience one of the Arabic language's finest contemporary novelists. Widely celebrated in France, where she currently lives in exile (from Lebanon), Hoda Barakat writes from personal experience: her novels focus on the civil war in Lebanon and how it shaped the lives of people marginalized by the conflict. Compelling scenarios of war and its aftermath of suffering and destruction are integrated into subtle psychological portraitswith protagonists often propelled into unexpected action.

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Drawing the Line

Toward an Aesthetics of Transitional Justice

Carrol Clarkson

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?

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Eco-Critical Literature

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.

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Education of the Deprived

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.

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Esiaba Irobi's Drama and the Postcolony

Theory and Practice of Postcolonial Performance

Isidore Diala

Esiaba Irobi (1960-2010) was one of Africa�s most innovative and productive younger playwrights. Deeply rooted in the indigenous performance traditions of his Igbo ethnic group, Irobi�s drama, in the tradition of Wole Soyinka, is a hybrid production involving an iconoclastic reconceptualisation of the heritage he appropriates, its fascinating conflation with other performance traditions, and their projection onto the arena of contemporary Nigerian politics. This study by Isidore Diala is the first book-length examination of Irobi�s work. It portrays a highly creative individual who was literally driven by the creative urge. The five chapters of this study illuminate different aspects of Irobi�s oeuvre and include a vivid portrayal of Irobi the actor in his dream role of Elesin Oba, the eponymous King�s Horseman in Wole Soyinka�s drama. Diala highlight�s Irobi�s fascination for African festivals, which feature prominently in the earlier plays.He also demonstrates that although he is rooted in his Igbo culture, Irobi draws on different ethnic groups, pointing to conceptions of pan-Africanism that include the wAfrican diaspora.

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Ethiopian literature (in amharic)

Chrestomathy

G.A. Balashova

The Reader includes sample works of modern writers starting with the first story by Afewerk Ghebre Jesus written in 1908 up to the writings of the early 2000s, which continue Amharic literature in various genres. The Chrestomathy is supplemented with linguistic and cultural comments of lexical, grammatical and ethno-cultural nature. Short biographies of the writers are included. Ethiopian literature is justly considered young, though it is based on a very old cultural foundation. Its major benefit is the focus on an individual person displaying moral integrity and unity with the environment.

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Ex-Centric Migrations

Europe and the Maghreb in Mediterranean Cinema, Literature, and Music

Hakim Abderrezak

Ex-Centric Migrations examines cinematic, literary, and musical representations of migrants and migratory trends in the western Mediterranean. Focusing primarily on clandestine sea-crossings, Hakim Abderrezak shows that despite labor and linguistic ties with the colonizer, migrants from the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) no longer systematically target France as a destination, but instead aspire toward other European countries, notably Spain and Italy. In addition, the author investigates other migratory patterns that entail the repatriation of émigrés. His analysis reveals that the films, novels, and songs of Mediterranean artists run contrary to mass media coverage and conservative political discourse, bringing a nuanced vision and expert analysis to the sensationalism and biased reportage of such events as the Mediterranean maritime tragedies.

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