The influence of colonialism and race on the development of African literature has been the subject of a number of studies. The effect of patriarchy and gender, however, and indeed the contributions of African women, have up until now been largely ignored by the critics. Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender is the first extensive account of African literature from a feminist perspective.
In this first radical and exciting work Florence Stratton outlines the features of an emerging female tradition in African fiction. A chapter is dedicated to each to the works of four women writers: Grace Ogot, Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta and Mariama Ba. In addition she provides challenging new readings of canonical male authors such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiongo'o and Wole Soyinka. Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender thus provides the first truly comprehensive definition of the current literary tradition in Africa.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements -- INTRODUCTION: Exclusionary practices -- I Aspects of the male literary tradition -- 1 HOW COULD THINGS FALL APART FOR WHOM THEY WERE NOT TOGETHER? -- 2 THE MOTHER AFRICA TROPE -- II Room for women -- 3 MEN FALL APART: Grace Ogot's novels and short stories -- 4 FLORA NWAPA AND THE FEMALE NOVEL OF DEVELOPMENT -- 5 'THEIR NEW SISTER': Buchi Emecheta and the contemporary African literary tradition -- 6 'LITERATURE AS A ... WEAPON': The novels of Mariama Ba -- III Men write back -- 7 GENDER ON THE AGENDA: Novels of the 1980s by Ngiigi and Achebe -- CONCLUSION: Redefining the African literary tradition -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index.
Florence Stratton received a Ph.D. in African Literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She taught literature at Njala University College in Sierra Leone for nineteen years and is currently at the Catholic Worker in New York.