Abstract

The African novel: extroverted or postcolonial.

In this analysis we will try to discuss the nature of the African novel. In fact, it is not at all a discussion per se, but a re-canalization of a long debate. When we deal with the African novel the common trope seems to be that we have a replication of a western form of literary expression with local colors, and often times this claim turns into insults when the need of African native writers for a western validation suggesting also a quest for a sort of marketability is hinted. So the old question seems to remain unanswered, is there such a thing as an African novel? Our answer being positive, we will explain why there is so much suspicion around this genre in Africa, which is nothing else than a lack of understanding of its postcolonial nature. We have chosen Things Fall apart as a case of study for its position as an early writing and for its authority as a cannon. For such an apology to hold ground we will have revisit the same cliché that have for so long worked against the African novel: the role of female (African being posited as that feminine realm) and the “unafricanness” of the novel as a genre in opposition to orality which is supposedly purely or simply more African. We will, therefore, render the African novel its intrinsic authority as a purely postcolonial product and production; and this is its true identity. The novel in Africa is neither an appendix nor extroverted, and the best appellation should be The Postcolonial African Novel.

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About sdiouf

Ph.D student in Comparative Literature.
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