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Other titles in the Wellek Library Lectures series:
Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing (Wellek Library Lectures)by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
Synopses & Reviews
A masterful writer working in many genres, Ngugi wa Thiong'o entered the East African literary scene in 1962, with the performance of his first major play, The Black Hermit, at the National Theatre in Uganda. In 1977, he was imprisoned after his most controversial work, Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want), was produced in Nairobi, sharply criticizing the injustices of Kenyan society and unequivocally championing the causes of ordinary citizens. Following his release, Ngugi decided to write only in his native Gikuyu, communicating with Kenyans in the language of their daily lives. Today he is known as one the most outspoken intellectuals working in postcolonial theory and the global postcolonial movement.
In this volume, Ngugi encapsulates and develops a cross-section of the issues he has grappled with in his work, which deploys a sophisticated strategy of imagery, language, folklore, and character to decolonize the mind. Ngugi confronts the politics of language in African writing; the problem of linguistic colonialism and literature's ability to resist it; the difficult balance between orality, or orature, and writing, or literature; the tension between national and world literature; and the role of the literary curriculum in both reaffirming and undermining the dominance of the western canon. Throughout, Ngugi engages a range of philosophers and theorists who write on power and postcolonial creativity, including Hegel, Marx, Claude L?vi-Strauss, and Aim? C?saire, yet his explorations remain grounded in his own experiences with literature (and orature), rendering the difficult dialectics of theory in richly evocative prose.
"In this knowledgeable exploration of the meaning of global literature and post-colonialism, and their role in shaping minds, Thiong'o (Decolonizing the Mind), a playwright and novelist in exile from his native Kenya, draws on his experience of studying literature in a British-centered curriculum while his country fought for independence. After discovering Marx's theories of class struggle, he realized how meaningful it could be to view literature through the prism of the colonial experience, as readings of Conrad's Heart of Darkness show. After joining the English faculty at the University of Nairobi, Thiong'o coauthored a paper calling for the department to change its name to Literature, and for the curriculum to emphasize African literature over British. Examining the works of such authors as Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe, he finds that they've incorporated themes and ideas from Western literature, while using the traditions in their native cultures as a framework. Writing about the practicalities of teaching world literature, from selecting texts to dismantling the false idea that literature from oral cultures is less worthy of study than that from written ones, he proposes the term 'globalectics,' which allows readers to see the connections between works from different time periods and places. In an ever-shrinking world, this book demonstrates the need to understand the similarities and differences in the stories we tell each other." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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