This course examines the development of the African novel in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Working with texts from across the continent, the course explores the engagement of the African novel with key issues such as history, slavery, colonialism, gender and sexuality, postcolonial politics, religion, genre fiction and the construction of nationhood. The course examines the progression of these issues through mapping the work of earlier canonised figures against that of the younger generation of writers emerging in the 80s and 90s, and a ‘third generation’ of writers since then. Writers that may be studied include Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Ama Ata Aidoo, Sembene Ousmane, Nurudeen Farah, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Yvonne Vera, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and other contemporary African writers, although the particular literary texts chosen for study may vary from year to year dependent on students’ interests. These texts will be discussed in the context 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.
Assessment: One 4,000-word essay