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Why don't we have analysis of African writers too?why dont we have analysis of African...

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naheemat | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 9, 2012 at 6:21 AM via web

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Why don't we have analysis of African writers too?

why dont we have analysis of African writers too

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naheemat | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 9, 2012 at 6:24 AM (Answer #2)

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i realised that it is easier to get analysis of texts and poems written by non african writers on line that that of the African writers. we must note hear that literature cuts accross so lets get stuffs for Africans too

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM (Answer #3)

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I'm not sure who you mean by "we."  In this context.  I would say that for most of the West, part of the reason for this is that there is not the depth of history of African literature that there is of Western literature.  We simply do not have any African literature from any time up to the relatively recent past.  I should also note that we do study and analyze African literature today.  Writers such as Chinua Achebe are fairly well studied in the West now.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM (Answer #4)

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I can only second the point about modern African writers like Achebe, though it is true that few have attained the type of international acclaim that he has. The issue may be that African writers (except Achebe) are not as widely studied in Western schools as European writers are. Most people that are very familiar with African literature are academics. I think this will change though, as curricula move away from a Euro-centric focus.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 9, 2012 at 5:07 PM (Answer #5)

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Are you asking about enotes.com specifically?  I am always impressed by the great number of African writers that can be found here, along with analysis of their works.  In general, though, I agree with you.  The west seems to focus on a few token authors from Africa while giving the others short shrift.  I suggest you choose a specific African author you are interested in and try typing the name in the search box here on enotes.  We do have a page for African poetry though.  Here it  is: http://www.enotes.com/african-poetry-salem/african-poetry

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 9, 2012 at 8:20 PM (Answer #6)

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Achebe is not the only African writer to achieve an international reputation. J.M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize and his work has been written about fairly widely.

 

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naheemat | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 10, 2012 at 8:24 AM (Answer #7)

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well thanks for the contribution am probably sounding this way because i am an English language and Literature teacher in Nigeria and over the years we get to study both African and non African literature, but the fact is everytime i come on line to search for materials on the Africa authors it is always difficult most times we get materials for the non African. we have a large number of African writers i tell you for now we have these list of poems to study by African writers;

'Expelled' by Jared angira very intersting

'Homeless not hopeless' by  Sola awonubi

'Myopia by Syl cheney Coker

'The Fence' by Lenrie Peters

so you can guys  also need to build interest in learning about african writers

i know so much about non african writers like. John Donne, John Keats, William Wordsworh, Wilfred Owen, John Fletcher and a host of others.

Am happy to be on this site we can work as a team as lecturers you can include the study of African literature in your curriculum too just has we have here in Nigeria

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ivana | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 11, 2012 at 7:34 PM (Answer #8)

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I suppose that you're  talking about the Western world or more specifically English speaking academic community. Perhaps you're being even more precise and speaking about academic community in the USA.  I'd like to say that this can be a more complicated question then it seems. It would be great if every nation could somehow be knowledgeable about literature of the whole world but the fact is that most people can't name all the countries in the world let alone their writers.

Now to come back to your request to include more literature from Africa in the studies (I presume you mean in the USA). It does make sense, because Africa is the native land of many people from USA. The African American community has a connection to Africa and should maintain it. However, the amount of literature that can be taught is unfortunately always limited. That's why I think the teachers should try to encourage their students to explore literature, both their own and foreign, both modern and classic.

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ivana | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 11, 2012 at 7:52 PM (Answer #9)

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I'm not sure who you mean by "we."  In this context.  I would say that for most of the West, part of the reason for this is that there is not the depth of history of African literature that there is of Western literature.  We simply do not have any African literature from any time up to the relatively recent past.  I should also note that we do study and analyze African literature today.  Writers such as Chinua Achebe are fairly well studied in the West now.

I would disagree with the claim that only recent African literature exists. What about oral literature? Doesn't oral literature span over a long time?

I agree with you that African literature is studied, not in detail, but it's finding its way into mainstream. As with all literature, its position will depend on things that haven't much to with artistic criteria but that's just how it is. It is not possible to study all writers from all nations, so factors like geography, history, cultural similarities and political reality often shape our reading choiches.

I often think about teaching classics vs. teaching lesser known authors. Literature studies in the west is centered on  western canon that is mostly European and American writers. I know that there are probably great books that I have not heard about. However,  I did really enjoy most of the classics, so I can't say that we should give up on teaching them. Choosing what books to teach is really hard!

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coryengle | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 12, 2012 at 12:08 AM (Answer #10)

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Most of the literature we study in the West is by Western writers, just as most of the philosophy we learn is by Western philosophers, and most of the history we learn is Western history. The reason is simple: Eurocentrism. Globalization is sure to make our education system more inclusive of other cultures, but for now, we learn Dante and Shakespeare and Joyce because they're the A-List writers of our side of the world. Not to mention, since your average American high school graduate couldn't name one text from each of those, teachers aren't exactly clamoring to put Achebe on their syllabi. It's a shame, but it seems that's where we're situated right now.

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serenitytsubasa | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM (Answer #11)

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We had African Literature back in college and we've read a lot of short stories, books and poems of different Africans. Maybe it's because of the availability of the books. Some of the African writers we've discussed are Wole Soyinka, Leopold Senghor, Ngugi wa Thiongo and Grace Ogot. Although i have to say that we had a hard time looking for references when we were analyzing these stories.

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