n English in Africa - Idiom of text : the unwritten novel in recent Nigerian fiction

Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



Emerging Nigerian writers, especially novelists, are inevitably saddled with the burden of history. Their engagements demonstrate the organic connection between art and history. History in this context is not the abstracted, academicized sphere that presents the problematic of historiography; it is a past, felt, lived, and shared by a people in a geographical mapping. It is the practical existence of a society peopled by, in Ngugi wa Thiong'o's words, "actual men and women and children, breathing, eating, crying, laughing, creating, dying, growing, struggling, organizing, [men and women and children] in history of which they are its products, its producers and its analysts" (477). The new Nigerian novel, as a body of responses to, or cultural struggles against, the diverse but interrelated situations of military oppression in Nigeria's recent past, is not, as Odia Ofeimun says of , "a historical novel [...] [but] a novel about history" (138).

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