This article examines Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) through an "African Postcolonial Gothic" lens. It begins by tracing the historiography and manifestations of Gothic attributes in precolonial and colonial Africa as exemplified in novels such as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (1959), Mongo Beti's Poor Christ of Bomba (1971), and Bessie Head's A Question of Power (1974). It then discusses Half of a Yellow Sun, which explores postindependence ethnic strife in Nigeria, particularly the Biafra War, and situates it as the historical precedent of the contemporary haunted setting in Purple Hibiscus. Adichie, I argue, participates in an ongoing reinvention and complication of Gothic topography in African literature. She teases out the peculiarities of the genre on the continent; dissects fraught African psyches; and engages in a Gothic-like reclamation of her Igbo heritage, including Igbo-Ukwu art, language, and religion.


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pp. 203-222
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