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Literature > African Literature

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Narratives of Catastrophe Cover

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Narratives of Catastrophe

Boris Diop, ben Jelloun, Khatibi

Nasrin Qader

Narratives of Catastrophe tells the story of the relationship between catastrophe, in the senses of down turnand break,and narration as recountingin the senses suggested by the French term rcit in selected texts by three leading writers from Africa. Qader's book begins by exploring the political implications of narrating catastrophic historical events. Through careful readings of singular literary texts on the genocide in Rwanda and on Tazmamart, a secret prison in Morocco under the reign of Hassan II, Qader shows how historical catastrophes enter language and how this language is marked by the catastrophe it recounts. Not satisfied with the extra-literary characterizations of catastrophe in terms of numbers, laws, and naming, she investigates the catastrophic in catastrophe, arguing that catastrophe is always an effect of language andthought,. The rcit becomes a privileged site because the difficulties of thinking and speaking about catastrophe unfold through the very movements of storytelling.This book intervenes in important ways in the current scholarship in the field of African literatures. It shows the contributions of African literatures in elucidating theoretical problems for literary studies in general, such as storytelling's relationship to temporality, subjectivity, and thought. Moreover, it addresses the issue of storytelling, which is of central concern in the context of African literatures but still remains limited mostly to the distinction between the oral and the written. The notion of rcit breaks with this duality by foregrounding the inaugural temporality of telling and of writing as repetition.The final chapters examine catastrophic turns within the philosophical traditions of the West and in Islamic thought, highlighting their interconnections and differences.

Nation-Building, Propaganda, and Literature in Francophone
                Africa Cover

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Nation-Building, Propaganda, and Literature in Francophone Africa

Dominic Thomas

What characterizes the relationship between literature and the state? Should literature serve the needs of the state by constructing national consciousness, espousing state propaganda, and molding good citizens? Or should it be dedicated to a different kind of creative social endeavor? In this important book about literature and the politics of nation-building, Dominic Thomas assesses the contributions of Francophone African writers whose works have played a key role in the recent transition to democracy in the Congo. Exploring the works of Sony Labou Tansi, Henri Lopes, and Emmanuel Dongala, among others, Thomas highlights writers intimately involved with government and politics -- whether in support of the state's vision or with the intention of articulating a more open view of citizens and society. Focusing on themes such as collaboration, reconciliation, identity, history, and memory, Nation-Building, Propaganda, and Literature in Francophone Africa elaborates a broader understanding of the circumstances of African colonization, modern African nation-state formation, and the complex cultural dynamics at work in Africa since independence.

Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts Cover

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Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts

Manifestations of

Teresa N. Washington

"Washington writes supple and thoughtful prose and creatively integrates African and African-derived terminology, which never distract the reader. I consider Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts not only a brilliant study, but also a model to be emulated." -- Ousseynou B. Traore, William Patterson University

Ousmane Sembène Cover

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Ousmane Sembène

The Making of a Militant Artist

Samba Gadjigo. Translated by Moustapha Diop. Foreword by Danny Glover

Samba Gadjigo presents a unique personal portrait and intellectual history of novelist and filmmaker Ousmane Sembène. Though Sembène has persistently deflected attention away from his personality, his life, and his past, Gadjigo has had unprecedented access to the artist and his family. This book is the first comprehensive biography of Sembène and contributes a critical appraisal of his life and art in the context of the political and social influences on his work. Beginning with Sembène's life in Casamance, Senegal, and ending with his militant career as a dockworker in Marseilles, Gadjigo places Sembène into the context of African colonial and postcolonial culture and charts his achievements in film and literature. This landmark book reveals the inner workings of one of Africa's most distinguished and controversial figures.

Outward Evil Inward Battle Cover

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Outward Evil Inward Battle

Human Memory in Literature

This book is a timely humanistic touch to memory studies. It uses literature as a laboratory for the workings of the mind, and characters as the subjects of human experimentation and diagnostics. This book considers authors from different societies and historical periods. The book is a refreshing illumination on the functioning of human memory. It complements the work of neuroscientists who seek to rationalize the workings of the same. Drawing from various ideas on memory, this rich and authoritative volume results from wide-ranging endeavors centered on the common fact that tracking memory in literature provides an astounding vista of orientations covered in its separate chapters. The writers examined in the various chapters become mediums for unleashing memory and its reconfiguration into artistic images. The ten separate chapters investigate different aspects of memory in such memoric associations as power, music, resistance, trauma, and identity. It is therefore no surprise that the editors should consider this book as ìa veritable menu for everything needed for an unforgettable memory banquetî.

Perspectives on Written Cameroon Literature in English Cover

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Perspectives on Written Cameroon Literature in English

In 2009, Anglophone Cameroon literature celebrated its fifty years of existence. Now at the mature age of fifty plus this literature has a great deal to write home about even if it still has a lot to do in its pursuit of excellence. Part of its maturity resides in the fact that although the scale of literary creativity and literary criticism is skewed in favour of the former, Anglophone Cameroon literary criticism is gradually waking up from slumber in an attempt to catch up with the rapidly expanding creativity. The essays in this book comment practically on some aspects of all the genres of written literature that the Anglophone Cameroon creative writers have produced so far: the novel, drama, poetry, the short story, the essay and childrenís literature. The essays, on the whole, are a testimony of the transition and reality from the apparent drought of Anglophone Cameroon literary paucity to the actual fruitful period of Anglophone Cameroon abundance of literary creativity. The Anglophone Cameroonians have appropriated an imperial language, English, to serve their postcolonial Cameroonian vision. Their various literary texts are vehicles of representations that are essentially cultural and ideological constructs. The works examined are initially anchored on Cameroonian experiences to take on social significance. As they are grounded on moving human experiences, these works necessarily make references to the immediate Cameroonian environment of their authors before taking on universal human significance. The book abundantly evidences and crowns Shadrach Ambanasomís achievements and reputation as a skilled pedagogue on the art of practical literary criticism.

Polygraphies Cover

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Polygraphies

Francophone Women Writing Algeria

Alison Rice

Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of Algeria's independence, Polygraphies is significant and timely in its focus on autobiographical writings by seven of the most prominent francophone women writers from Algeria today, including Maïssa Bey, Hélène Cixous, Assia Djebar, and Malika Mokeddem. These authors witnessed both the "before" and "after" of the colonial experience in their land, and their fictional and theoretical texts testify to the lasting impact of this history. From a variety of personal perspectives and backgrounds, each writer addresses linguistic, religious, and racial issues of crucial contemporary importance in Algeria. Alison Rice engages their work from a range of disciplines, striving both to heighten our sensitivity to the plurality inherent in their texts and to move beyond a true/false dichotomy to a wealth of possible truths, all communicated in writing.

Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics Cover

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Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics

Akin Adesokan

What happens when social and political processes such as globalization shape cultural production? Drawing on a range of writers and filmmakers from Africa and elsewhere, Akin Adesokan explores the forces at work in the production and circulation of culture in a globalized world. He tackles problems such as artistic representation in the era of decolonization, the uneven development of aesthetics across the world, and the impact of location and commodity culture on genres, with a distinctive approach that exposes the global processes transforming cultural forms.

Postcolonial Francophone Autobiographies Cover

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Postcolonial Francophone Autobiographies

From Africa to the Antilles

Edgard Sankara

Bringing a comparative perspective to the study of autobiography, Edgard Sankara considers a cross-section of postcolonial francophone writing from Africa and the Caribbean in order to examine and compare for the first time their transnational reception. Sankara not only compares the ways in which a wide selection of autobiographies were received locally (as well as in France) but also juxtaposes reception by the colonized and the colonizer to show how different meanings were assigned to the works after publication.

Sankara’s geographical and cultural coverage of Africa and its diaspora is rich, with separate chapters devoted to the autobiographies of Hampâté Bâ, Valentin Mudimbé, Kesso Barry, Patrick Chamoiseau, Raphaël Confiant, and Maryse Condé. The author combines close reading, reception study, and postcolonial theory to present an insightful survey of the literary connections among these autobiographers as well as a useful point of departure for further exploration of the genre itself, of the role of reception studies in postcolonial criticism, and of the stance that postcolonial francophone writers choose to take regarding their communities of origin.

Modern Language Initiative

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