West African Literatures: Ways of Reading

Paperback | February 22, 2007

byStephanie Newell

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The Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures series (general editor: Elleke Boehmer) offers stimulating and accessible introductions to definitive topics and key genres and regions within the rapidly diversifying field of postcolonial literary studies in English.This study of West African literatures interweaves the analysis of fiction, drama, and poetry with an exploration of the broader political, cultural, and intellectual contexts within which West African writers work. Anglophone literatures form the central focus of the book, with comparative commentson vernacular literature, francophone writing and oral literatures, and detailed discussion of selected francophone texts in translation (e.g., Senghor, Tadjo, Beyala, Ba, Sembene). Moving from a discussion of nationalist and anti-colonial writing in the period before independence, towards the moreexperimental writings of contemporary authors such as Veronique Tadjo (Ivory Coast), Syl Cheney-Coker (Sierra Leone), and Kojo Laing (Ghana), the book constantly relates texts to the social and political history of West Africa. Canonical, internationally well-known writers such as Chinua Achebe andWole Soyinka are positioned in relation to the literary cultures and debates which surrounded them when they first produced their seminal texts; the discussions and disagreements which have grown up around their work in subsequent decades are also considered. The work of new and lesser-known writersis also considered, including Niyi Osundare (Nigeria) and Kofi Anyidoho (Ghana). In order to convey a sense of the rich and complex societies that are clustered beneath the umbrella-term 'postcolonial', emphasis is placed on West Africa's diverse oral and popular cultures, and the ways in whichlocal intellectuals and readers have responded to the most prominent authors through the aesthetic frameworks generated by these forms.

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The Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures series (general editor: Elleke Boehmer) offers stimulating and accessible introductions to definitive topics and key genres and regions within the rapidly diversifying field of postcolonial literary studies in English.This study of West African literatures interweaves the analysis of ficti...

Stephanie Newell is Reader in English Literature at the University of Sussex. Her research interests include West African literature, African newspaper culture, African readerships, and postcolonial theory. She has published widely on African popular culture and West African newspaper history. Her most recent books include two studies...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.65 inPublished:February 22, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199273979

ISBN - 13:9780199273973

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Table of Contents

West African TimelineIntroduction: Where is 'West Africa'?1. Negritude2. Facing East: Islam and Identity in West African Literature3. Oral Literatures4. Lost and Found in Translation5. iThings Fall Apart/i: Presence and Palimpsest in the Colonial-Scape6. Popular Literature7. iGriots/i with Pens in their Hands: Literary Experiments with Oral Genres, 1960s-1990s8. Feminism and the Complex Space of Women's Writing9. Marxism and West African Literature10. The Three 'Posts': Postmodernism, Poststructuralism, Postcolonialism11. Experimental Writing by the 'Third Generation'12. 'Queering' West African Gender Theory: Calixthe Beyala, Werewere Liking, and Veronique TadjoConclusion: West Africa in Postcolonial Theory