This article examines the continuity between Chinua Achebe’s rural novels and Chimamanda Adichie’s 2007 novel Half of a Yellow Sun. Based on the concept of complementary dualism, the article explores the affinity between the two authors and their works through several sets of dualities: individualism and collectivism, natural and supernatural, and tradition and change, which gradually becomes the duality of African and Western. Suggesting that these dualities allow us to see how Achebe’s legacy has reincarnated into a nuanced engagement with the categories of specificity and typicality, I suggest that Adichie’s conscious engagement of Achebe is pertinent to the contemporary critical discussion on Africanness as it is constructed through literature. Moreover, I explore how realism, as a genre entailed with its own engagement with typicality and specificity, engages with Africanness to illustrate the circularity of interpretation, where historical events are infused with new meaning in a process of reciprocal influences between new and old representations.


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pp. 70-87
Launched on MUSE
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