Nigerian Novel

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Universität Osnabrück, Sommersemester 1999

The Nigerian Novel:
An Introduction

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Course Description

Many Nigerian novels deal with the conflicts arising from the ongoing confrontation in Africa between traditional life and the demands of a modern society. Tradition, itself a doubtful concept (traditions are sometimes even invented to suit the needs of a chief or a community), is challenged and changed, but then, the life style of a westernized industrializing society is not simply adopted but adapted as well. We shall read some selected novels from the 1960s to the 1990s whose protagonists experience traditional life in the village as well as modern life in the cities or abroad. For a better understanding of these novels, we shall read non-fictional texts on Nigerian literature, history and society in addition. I will also provide some more sensual experiences of the country and the people, through the presentation of music, dance, film, fine arts, etc. We will discuss your work load during our first meeting when I will also hand out further materials. The novels to be read are as follows:

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Course Outline

15.04.1999:

22.04.1999

29.04.1999

06.05.1999

19.05.1999

20.05.1999

03.06.1999

10.06.1999

17.06.1999

30.06.1999

01.07.1999

08.07.1999

15.07.1999

22.07.1999

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Suggested Topics for Term Papers

  1. Chinua Achebe's Nigeria: Comments on a Changing Society in Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, and No Longer At Ease (The African Trilogy)
  2. Grand Old Man: Chinua Achebe's Influence on Nigerian Writing
  3. Attitudes to Modern Nigerian Culture in Cyprian Ekwensi's Jagua Nana
  4. The Use of Irony in Nkem Nwankwo's My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours
  5. Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn: Is This Nigerian Feminism?
  6. Emasculation in Phanuel Egejuru's The Seed Yams Have Been Eaten
  7. The Nigerian Writer's Dilemma
  8. Feminism in the Nigerian Novel
  9. Individual and Community in Nigerian Novels: Distance, Alienation, Conflict
  10. Teaching African Literature: The „Why“ and the „How“

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Selected Secondary Literature

Acholonu, Rose: „The Female Predicament in the Nigerian Novel.“ In: Helen Chukwuma: Feminism in African Literature. Essays on Criticism. Enugu: New Generation Books, 1994, pp. 38 - 52.

Darah, G.G.: „Literary Development in Nigeria.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume One. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 1 - 9.

Dathorne, O.R.: African Literature in the Twentieth Century. London/Ibadan/Nairobi: Heinemann Educational Books, 1976. (esp. pp. 1 - 120)

Egudu, R.N.: „Igbo Traditional Poetry and Family Relationships.“ In: D.I. Nwoga: Literature and Modern West African Culture. Benin City, Nigeria: Ethiope Publishing Corporation, 1978, pp.35 - 47.

Emenyonu, Ernest: „Cyprian Ekwensi.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume Two. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 20 - 27.

Enekwe, Onuora Ossie: „Chinua Achebe's Novels.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume Two. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 31 - 37.

Ezenwa-Ohaetu: „Nkem Nwankwo.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume Two. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 106 - 111.

„Interview with Chinua Achebe“. In: Bernth Lindfors et al. (eds.): Palaver. Interviews with Five African Writers in Texas. Austin, Texas: African and Afro-American Research Institute, 1972, pp. 5 - 12.

Irele, Abiola: „Chinua Achebe: The Tragic Conflict in His Novels.“ In: Ulli Beier (ed.): Introduction to African Literature. Harlow, Essex: Longman 1967, pp. 177 - 188.

Jeyifo, Biodun: „The Language Factor in Modern Nigerian Literature.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume One. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 68 - 72.

Jeyifo, Biodun.: „Chinua Achebe as Literary Critic & Theorist.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume Two. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 128 - 131.

July, Robert W.: „The African Personality in the African Novel: Alex la Guma; Cyprian Ekwensi; Onuora Nzekwu; Cheikh Amidou Kane.“ In: Ulli Beier (ed.): Introduction to African Literature. Harlow, Essex: Longman 1967, pp. 228 - 243.

Koroye, Seiyifa: „The Ascetic Feminist Vision of Zaynab Alkali.“ In: Henrietta C. Otokunefor and Obiageli Nwodo (eds.): Nigerian Female Writers. A Critical Perspective. Lagos: Malthouse Press Ltd., 1989, pp. 47 - 51.

Ladele, Omolola: „Zaynab Alkali.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume Two. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 327 - 332.

Njoku, Theresa U.: „Personal Identity and the Growth of the Nigerian Woman in Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman.“ In: Helen Chukwuma: Feminism in African Literature. Essays on Criticism. Enugu: New Generation Books, 1994, pp. 176 - 188.

Nnolim, Charles E. „Trends in the Nigerian Novel.“ In: Ernest N. Emenyonu et al. (eds.): Calabar Studies in African Literature 4: Literature and National Consciousness. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books, 1989, pp. 53 - 65.

Ofor, G.N.: „The Urban Novel: A Historical Experience.“ In: Ernest Emenyonu et al. (eds.): Calabar Studies in African Literature 6: African Literature and African Historical Experiences. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books, 1991, pp. 23 - 34.

Ojinmah, Umelo: Chinua Achebe. New Perspectives. Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 1991.

Okonjo-Ogunyem, Chikwenye: „Women and Nigerian Literature.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume One. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 60 - 67.

Okonkwo, Juliet I.: „Ekwensi and The 'Something New and Unstable' In Modern Nigerian Culture.“ In: D.I. Nwoga: Literature and Modern West African Culture. Benin City, Nigeria: Ethiope Publishing Corporation, 1978, pp. 130 - 142.

Opara, Chioma: „The Foot as Metaphor in Female Dreams: Analysis of Zaynab Alkali's Novels.“ In: Ernest N. Emenyonu et al. (eds.): Calabar Studies in African Literature 5: Literature and Black Aesthetics. Ibadan: Heinemann Education Books, pp. 158 - 166.

Schulze-Engler, Frank: „Chinua Achebe and the Politics of Civil Society in Modern African Literature.“ In: Erhard Reckwitz et al.: The African Past and Contemporary Culture. Papers on Africa Delivered at the Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the New Literatures in English, Essen, 12 - 15 June 1991. Essen: Die Blaue Eule, 1993, pp. 169 - 183.

Sekoni, Ropo: „Oral Literature and the Development of Nigerian Literature.“ In: Yemi Ogunbiyi: Perspectives on Nigerian Literature: 1700 to The Present. Volume One. Lagos: Guardian Books, 1988, pp. 46 - 52.

Trenz, Günter: Die Funktion englischsprachiger westafrikanischer Literatur. Eine Studie zur gesellschaftlichen Bedeutung des Romans in Nigeria. Berlin: Reimer, 1980.

Please check the libraries for more secondary literature. Some of the above literature may not be available in Germany. Please turn to me if you need any of the above books or articles.

Suggested Further Reading

Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart (1959)

Achebe, Chinua: Arrow of God (1964)

Ekwensi, Cyprian: For a Roll of Parchment (1986)

Ike, Chukwuemeka: The Naked Gods (1970)

Please read pp. 12 - 60 in The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English (cf. Vorlesungsverzeichnis des Englischen Seminars)

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This page was created by Dominique Bediako on June 1, 2001.

It was last updated on September 26, 2001.

The URL of this page is <http://www.oocities.com/afripalava/EnglishCourses/NigNovel.html>

For general information on Anglophone African Literature and African Studies, please consult my website African Palava.

© Dr. Dominique Bediako, formerly Lecturer (English Literature), Osnabrueck, Germany (now Lecturer in German, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda)

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