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Life Turns Man Up and Down: High Life, Useful Advice, and Mad English
Synopses & Reviews
A unique anthology that brings together examples of once wildly popular but long out-of-print African market literature never intended as art: irresistibly charming, brief literary anomalies in all genres, written for entertainment, instruction, and moral guidance.
An indigenous Nigerian publishing phenomenon that was all the rage from World War II until the late 1960s, Onitsha Market literature consisted of pamphlets that contained stories, novels, plays,
discourses on the dangers of loose living, and advice on matters ranging from selecting a wife to managing your money. They carried titles such as Lack of Money Is Not Lack of Sense, Drunkards Believe Bar As Heaven, No Condition Is Permanent, and How to Write Love Letters, Toasts, and Business Letters.
Originally sold at Onitsha Market (the largest open-air market in Africa), the pamphlets have become priceless collectors’ items. This anthology—facsimile reproductions of the original texts, illustrations, and cover art—now makes them available to a wider audience.
This anthology is comprised of so-called Onitsha Market Literature which was an indigenous Nigerian publishing phenomenon that started at the end of World War II and lasted until the Biafra War. It has since perished; few pamphlets are available in Nigeria itself, never mind worldwide. This anthology is culled from the editor's private collection which he has been amassing for 20 years. It includes, in addition to excerpts, five complete texts, and is illustrated with original cover art and line drawings.
About the Author
Kurt Thometz is a private librarian. He has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, GQ, and
Avenue. For many years a bookseller in New York City, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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