This module examines the development of the African novel in the twentieth-century. Working with texts from across the continent, the module explores the engagement of the African novel with key issues such as history, slavery, colonialism, gender, postcolonial politics and the construction of nationhood. It examines the progression of these issues through mapping the work of earlier canonised figures against that of a younger generation of writers emerging in the 80s and 90s. Writers to be studied include Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ama Ata Aidoo, Sembene Ousmane, Nurudeen Farah, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Yvonne Vera. These texts will be discussed in the context of a survey of the ways in which African literature has been read over time, from negritudist approaches in the 1930s and 40s through to post-colonial literary theory in the 1990s, paying particular attention to responses to those theories by the writers themselves.
Assessment: One 4,000-word essay