Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The Postcolonial Novel 1: African

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit examines the literary treatment of social and economic exploitation in African novels from the "Caliban" point of view with particular reference to events and inter-relationships in colonial and postcolonial communities. The following novels are for detailed study: Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart; Ngugi wa Thiong'o - Petals of Blood; Tsitsi Dangarembga - Nervous Conditions.

Further Reading: Ayi Kwei Armah, Fragments (Heinemann: 1995); Bessie, Head Maru (Heinemann: 1972); Nadine Gordimer, My Son’s Story (Penguin:1991); Yvonne Vera Butterfly Burning; Ken Saro-wiwa - Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten English.

Study-unit Aims:

- Present three major novelists from sub-saharan Africa;
- To teach the most important thematic concerns of Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa thiong'o and Tsitsi Dangarembga;
- To demonstrate convergences and divergences between the set texts;
- To examine the narrative techniques used by the three writers and to show these these as responses to the literary representation of Africa in colonial English literature;
- To teach the critical terms required for the literary analysis of the postcolonial novel.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Understand the development of the novel form in Africa;
- Appreciate Things Fall Apart; Petals of Blood; Nervous Conditions;
- Discern the literary treatment of political and social concerns in sub-saharan African writing;
- Identify the influences between the texts studied, or how they converge or diverge in their literary construction of Africa.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Understand how social and political concerns shape the novel in Africa and other postcolonial places;
- Discern the literary techniques employed by writers in the developing a literature that can stand against representations from Britain and the west;
- Produce advanced textual / critical commentary upon selected texts from the literature studied.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
- Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Petals of Blood
- Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions.

Supplementary readings:

- Ashcroft Bill, G. Griffiths & H. Tiffin Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts (Routledge Key Guides).
- Ashcroft Bill, G. Griffiths & H. Tiffin The Empire Writes Back (Routledge:1989).
- Frantz Fanon The Wretched of the Earth (Penguin: 1961).
- Black Skin, White Masks (Pluto Classics: 1967).
- James Booth Writers and Politics in Nigeria (Hodder & Stoughton: 1981).
- David Carroll Chinua Achebe (Macmillan:1990).
- Eldred D. Jones African Literature Today (Series) (Heinemann).
- G.D.Killam African Writers on African Writing (Studies in African Literature) (Heinemann: 1973).
- The Writings of Chinua Achebe (Heinemann: 1977).
- Critical Perspectives on Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Three Continents Press: 1984).
- Daniel Massa Individual and Community in Commonwealth Literature (Malta UP:1979).
- E. Palmer An Introduction to the African Novel (1972).
- Ann Elizabeth Willey (ed.) Emerging Perspectives on Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions.
- Simon Gikandi Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Cambridge Studies in African and Caribbean Literature) (Cambridge UP: 2001).
- Charles Cantalup (ed) Ngugi wa Thiong’o: texts and contexts (Africa World Press: 1995).


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Stella Borg Barthet

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