African Fiction and Joseph Conrad: Reading Postcolonial Intertextuality

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SUNY Press, Dec 30, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 182 pages
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Interrogates the "writing back to the center" approach to intertextuality and explores alternatives to it.

"Byron Caminero-Santangelo exposes the limitations of the hegemonic 'writing back to the center' model and offers an alternative approach that emphasizes the constitutive creativity of postcolonial cultural producers. The subtlety of his reasoning and the brilliance of his close readings will make it impossible for critics to reduce postcolonial texts to a unidimensional, reactive 'writing back' relationship to European literature. This stimulating, erudite, and wide-ranging book promises to become a benchmark in postcolonial literary studies." — Laura Chrisman, author of Postcolonial Contraventions: Cultural Readings of Race, Imperialism, and Transnationalism

By exploring the relationships between African novels and Joseph Conrad's fiction, this book examines the many discontinuous functions postcolonial revisions of "the canon" can serve. While contemporary literary studies too often represent such revisions merely as a means for postcolonial writers to challenge a colonial worldview, Caminero-Santangelo explores how African authors engage with a wide range of historically specific ideologies generated by particular histories of national independence and the development of postcolonial nations. The shift in focus away from a single colonial moment enables Caminero-Santangelo to detect a complex interweaving of convergence and divergence between Conrad and African writers such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Nadine Gordimer, Tayeb Salih, and Ama Ata Aidoo, who use Conradian intertexts to intervene in repressive situations in late-twentieth-century Africa. By emphasizing the need to contextualize acts of writing and rewriting in precise historical terms, the author points to the limitations—even the dangers—of the standard cultural binary (Western-colonial/African-postcolonial) and the static dialectic of colonial domination and postcolonial resistance embraced by much recent cultural criticism.

African Fiction and Joseph Conrad is accessible, and will be a good resource for students.” — Wasafiri

“The value of this work lies in its demonstration that postcolonial African literature goes far beyond ‘writing back’ to literary works by Western authors, Joseph Conrad being the prime example. By ‘writing back,’ Caminero-Santangelo means responding to the assertions, often identified as racist, made in earlier works by African writers seeking to counter false Western claims about African people and cultures … This book will be particularly valuable to those interested in non-Western writing.” — CHOICE

"Caminero-Santangelo's interpretation of Conrad's influence on modern African fiction is original and convincing." — Adeleke Adeeko, author of Proverbs, Textuality, and Nativism in African Literature
 

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Contents

Conrad Hybridity
31
Ngugi wa Thiongos
49
Neocolonialism and Conrad
69
Disruptions of the Colonial
89
The Ghost
109
Conclusion
137
Works Cited
159
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Byron Caminero-Santangelo is Associate Professor of English at the University of Kansas.

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