Synopses & Reviews
African literatures, says volume editor Oyekan Owomoyela, "testify to the great and continuing impact of the colonizing project on the African universe." African writers must struggle constantly to define for themselves and other just what "Africa" is and who they are in a continent constructed as a geographic and cultural entity largely by Europeans. This study reflects the legacy of colonialism by devoting nine of its thirteen chapters to literature in "Europhone" languages—English, French, and Portuguese. Foremost among the Anglophone writers discussed are Nigerians Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe, and Wole Soyinka. Writers from East Africa are also represented, as are those from South Africa. Contributors for this section include Jonathan A. Peters, Arlene A. Elder, John F. Povey, Thomas Knipp, and J. Ndukaku Amankulor. In African Francophone literature, we see both writers inspired by the French assimilationist system and those influenced by Negritude, the African-culture affirmation movement. Contributors here include Servanne Woodward, Edris Makward, and Alain Ricard. African literature in Portuguese, reflecting the nature of one of the most oppressive colonizing projects in Africa, is treated by Russell G. Hamilton. Robert Cancel discusses African-language literatures, while Oyekan Owomoyela treats the question of the language of African literatures. Carole Boyce Davies and Elaine Savory Fido focus on the special problems of African women writers, while Hans M. Zell deals with the broader issues of publishing—censorship, resources, and organization.
"A major reference text for African literature, providing solid information on the field in the various languages, and on authors, works, and movements. It will be invaluable."—Abiola Irele, author of The African Experience in Literature and Ideology Abiola Irele
"To date nothing quite as readable has appeared which does what this book attempts to do: to present a comprehensive view not only of the major issues around which debates in African writing have focused and continue to focus, but also a detailed inventory of the principal writers in the field in a portable text. . . . Owomoyela and his contributors have produced a book that anyone who desires to know the origins, principal figures, and the main trends and currents of African literatures and criticism in our time would find very useful."—Ode S. Ogede, Callaloo Ode S. Ogede
"This is a comprehensive examination of authors, works, and movements."—The Black Scholar Callaloo
About the Author
Oyekan Owomoyela is the author of A Ki I: Yoruba Proscriptive and Prescriptive Proverbs and Visions and Revisions: Essays on African Literatures and Criticism.