Postcolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy

Postcolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy : Reading and Writing in African and Caribbean Fiction

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Examining images of literacy in African and West Indian novels, Neil ten Kortenaar looks at how postcolonial authors have thought about the act of writing itself. Writing arrived in many parts of Africa as part of colonization in the twentieth century, and with it a whole world of book-learning and paper-pushing; of school and bureaucracy; newspapers, textbooks and letters; candles, hurricane lamps and electricity; pens, paper, typewriters and printed type; and orthography developed for formerly oral languages. Writing only penetrated many layers of West Indian society in the same era. The range of writers is wide, and includes Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and V. S. Naipaul. The chapters rely on close reading of canonical novels, but discuss general themes and trends in African and Caribbean literature. Ten Kortenaar's sensitive and penetrating treatment of these themes makes this an important contribution to the growing field of postcolonial literary studies.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2 b/w illus.
  • 1139090798
  • 9781139090797

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. The coming of literacy: Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe; 3. The contents of the tin trunk: Isar... by Wole Soyinka; 4. Mr Biswas finds a home in the world on paper: V. S. Naipaul; 5. Literacy in the world not ruled by paper: Myal by Erna Brodber; 6. Southern Africa's houses of hunger; 7. Conclusion: the frontiers of writing; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

"One of the book's many strengths is the way it balances detailed attention to the impact of literacy in the central novels with panoramic shots of the field." --Research in African Literatures
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