Download PDF by Evan Maina Mwangi: Africa Writes Back to Self: Metafiction, Gender, Sexuality

By Evan Maina Mwangi

ISBN-10: 143842681X

ISBN-13: 9781438426815

Explores the metafictional techniques of latest African novels instead of characterizing them basically as a reaction to colonialism.

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For instance, reading the fiction produced from the 1950s to the 1960s, Ugandan critic Shatto Arthur Gakwandi contends, in The Novel and Contemporary Experience in Africa (1977), that compared with avant-garde nonrealist writing, the realist novel is a far more appropriate mode for writing Africa. He concludes that “realism is the best instrument for analyzing individual behavior and the social patterns in a given society” (126). But the novel has changed to nonrealism as the avenues of realism become exhausted in apprehending the reality of emerging ideas on gender and sexuality.

Adéèkó demonstrates that these modes of articulation are crucial markers and avenues of the political will in diverse African discourses. In this book I demonstrate that the narratives in African fiction pose the theoretical question of the relationship between fiction and reality in order to affirm at times Introduction 19 protean and unfixed identity. Patricia Waugh’s definition of metafiction is significant because it seeks to explain the social dimension of metafiction; to her, metafiction is “a fictional form that is culturally relevant and comprehensible to contemporary readers” (1984, 18).

We should keep within our sights the overwhelming exceptions to Jameson’s typology but also consider his view about the political imperative of African literature, which is purposely composed to interpret a certain reality, even if that reality does not conform to any nationalist ideology and does not have to be unitary. Jameson’s emphasis on the centrality of form in the definition of African texts is pertinent despite the predominance of political and thematic readings of the African novel at the expense of aesthetics (ostensibly because African literature does not subscribe to art for art’s sake).

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Africa Writes Back to Self: Metafiction, Gender, Sexuality by Evan Maina Mwangi


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