Contemporary African Literature in English: Global by M. Krishnan

By M. Krishnan

Modern African Literature in English explores the contours of illustration in modern Anglophone African literature, drawing on quite a lot of authors together with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Aminatta Forna, Brian Chikwava, Ngug? wa Thiong'o, Nuruddin Farah and Chris Abani.

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Additional info for Contemporary African Literature in English: Global Locations, Postcolonial Identifications

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In considering these external factors, however, the reader of African literature need not revert to a simplified socio-political determinism, though such an imperative may continually assert itself through the material production of the text. If, as I have suggested, the ethical value of the text operates at the hinge between representation, a political stance, and re-presentation, an aesthetic rendering of culture, then this hinge, in turn, calls directly upon what Said has called the worldliness of the text.

The tension which arises from these formations of self is highlighted in Brian Chikwava’s Harare North, Nuruddin Farah’s Links and Tsitsi Dangarembga’s The Book of Not. In each novel, the status of the individual subject is foregrounded in distinct narrative forms which highlight, in different contexts, the centrality of race and racialized formations in the development of the African self. Addressing the dissociation of migrancy, the difficulty of return and the struggle simply to be within a racially-stratified society, each of these novels highlights the peculiar anxiety which has marked the construction of the individual subject in African literature.

Ngu ˜ gı˜’s public statements about language and his professional turn from English may be read less as an indictment of that language than a way to highlight the structural discrepancies in power, value and literary worth which the automatic assumption of English implicitly encodes. For contemporary African literature, English has become still more entrenched as the de facto language of communication through the prevalence of prizes given 36 Contemporary African Literature in English only to works available in English, a critical field that is increasingly monolingual (a situation not unique to African literary studies, it should be said) and a publishing sector dominated by London and New York.

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