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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.
This prolific collection of essays, with contributions from scholars from across several disciplines, on the practice and implications of namingñNomenclatural Poetization and Globalizationñexplores diverse concerns in onomastics, such as cultural and ethnic implications as well as individual identity formation processes in the age of Globalization and extends these to a variety of contemporary theories of appreciation and internationalization.
This study of oral tradition in African literature is borne from the awareness that African verbal arts still survive in works of discerning writers and in the conscious exploration of its tropes, perspectives, philosophy and consciousness, its complementary realism, and ontology, for the delineation of authentic African response to memory, history and other possible comparisons with modern existence such as witnessed in recent developments of the African novel. In this series we have strived to adopt innovative and multilayered perspectives on orality or indigeneity and its manifestations on contemporary African and new literatures. These studies use multi-faceted theories of orality which discuss and deconstruct notions of history, truth-claims and identity-making, not excluding gender and genealogy (cultural and biological) studies in African contexts.
"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
The Making of a Militant Artist
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.
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.
War Fiction in the Postcolony
This study offers a literary history of the war novel in Africa. Coundouriotis argues that this genre, aimed more specifically at African readers than the continent’s better-known bildungsroman tradition, nevertheless makes an important intervention in global understandings of human rights._x000B__x000B_The African war novel lies at the convergence of two sensibilities it encounters in European traditions: the naturalist aesthetic and the discourse of humanitarianism, whether in the form of sentimentalism or of human rights law. Both these sensibilities are present in culturally hybrid forms in the African war novel, reflecting its syncretism as a narrative practice engaged with the colonial and postcolonial history of the continent._x000B__x000B_The war novel, Coundouriotis argues, stakes claims to collective rights that contrast with the individualism of the bildungsroman tradition. The genre is a form of people’s history that participates in a political struggle for the rights of the dispossessed._x000B_
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.
A Reading of Remi Raji�s Poetry
This study explores the nationalist imagination, artistic philosophy and the overtly political dimension of Remi Raji�s poetry. It is an attempt to construct a sustained critical discourse on Raji�s ongoing body of works. Raji is one of the major poetic voices on the Nigerian literary scene today. With the publication of his first collection, A Harvest of Laughters, in 1997 Raji has continued to strengthen his craft and vision through subsequent volumes: Webs of Remembrance (2000), Shuttlesongs: America � a Poetic Guided Tour (2003), Lovesong for My Wasteland (2005); and Gather My Blood Rivers of Song (2009). Evidently he has attained poetic maturity and, given the frequency of his output, is set to realise a fulfilled poetic career. His maturation thus far through these five volumes deserves a major critical assessment, and a possible prediction for the direction of his artistic vision.
Francophone Women Writing Algeria
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.