Bessie Head and the Trauma of Exile : Identity and Alienation in Southern African Fiction book cover
1st Edition

Bessie Head and the Trauma of Exile
Identity and Alienation in Southern African Fiction

ISBN 9780367710286
Published June 18, 2021 by Routledge
246 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book investigates themes of exile and oppression in Southern Africa across Bessie Head’s novels and short fiction.

An exile herself, arriving in Botswana as a South African refugee, Bessie Head’s fiction serves as an important example of African exile literature. This book argues that Head’s characters are driven to exile as a result of their socio- political ambivalence while still in South Africa, and that this sense of discomfort follows them to their new lives. Investigating themes of trauma and identity politics across colonial and post- colonial contexts, this book also addresses the important theme of black- on- black prejudice and hostility which is often overlooked in studies of Head’s work.

Covering Head’s shorter fiction as well as her major novels When Rain Clouds Gather (1969), Maru (1971), A Question of Power (1973), Serowe: Village of the Rain Wind (1981), and A Bewitched Crossroads: An African Saga (1984), this book will be of interest to researchers of African literature and postcolonial history.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Literature of the Oppressed Chapter 2: Exile, Post-coloniality, Trauma: Theories and Perspectives Chapter 3: The Ordeals of Crossing: From Home to Exile Chapter 4: The Black-on-black Prejudice Chapter 5: Black Power and Trauma in a Shut-in World Chapter 6: History through Fiction or Fiction through History? Chapter 7: Patriarchy and Power: Women on the Edge of the Cliff Chapter 8: Conclusion: Towards the Unification of Thematic Trajectories

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Joshua Agbo received his Ph.D. in African Literature from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, in 2018. He taught the undergraduate, MPhil, and Ph.D. students of Sociology at the University of Cambridge before returning to Nigeria to continue with his teaching career as a Lecturer at the Benue State University, Makurdi. His Ph.D. research was shortlisted for the "Barbara Harlow Prize for Research Excellence," by the University of Texas, Austin, USA, in 2017. Also, his book, How Africans Underdeveloped Africa: A Forgotten Truth in History , was on the StandTall Africa Initiative shortlist for the 2019 Readers’ Award . He is a member of Modern Language Association (MLA), African Literature Association (ALA), Post- Colonial Studies Association, etc. Dr. Joshua Agbo is a Manuscript Assessor/ Reviewer for the Pan- African University Press, Austin, Texas, USA and also for Bloomsbury Press, London, United Kingdom. He has published several academic research works, nationally and internationally, including his play, Dead Wood.