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"The ambition of this study is shaped by two somewhat contradictory impulses. The first is to use the novel of war in Africa as a case study to say something broader and bigger about the war novel as a genre across literary traditions and reaching backwards and forwards in history. The second is to deepen our understanding of the novel in Africa by doing a literary history of the genre of the war novel that has been overlooked in relation to the more widely read and canonized Bildungsroman form. Pulling in two different directions, one towards a more global context, and the other inwards, to the specificities of a particular tradition, this book, moreover, stresses the convergence of two sensibilities: the naturalist aesthetic and a humanitarian ethos which takes up the responsibility for the suffering of others. Both these sensibilities are present in culturally hybrid forms in the African war novel, reflecting its syncretism as a narrative practice engaged with the colonial and postcolonial history of the continent. The narration of war broadly evokes some form of these two sensibilities of naturalism and humanitarianism, gesturing towards a universal statement about the experience of war. This study offers a literary history of the war novel in Africa and argues for the genre's distinct contribution to the literary culture of the continent while arguing that the war novel is a form of people's history that participates in a political struggle for the rights of the dispossessed"--
Biodun Jeyifo examines the connections between the innovative and influential writings of Wole Soyinka and his radical political activism. Jeyifo carries out detailed analyses of Soyinka's most ambitious works, relating them to the controversies generated by Soyinka's use of literature and theatre for radical political purposes. He gives a fascinating account of the profound but paradoxical affinities and misgivings Soyinka has felt about the significance of the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century. Jeyifo also explores Soyinka's works with regard to the impact on his artistic sensibilities of the pervasiveness of representational ambiguity and linguistic exuberance in Yoruba culture. The analyses and evaluations of this study are presented in the context of Soyinka's sustained engagement with the violence of collective experience in post-independence, postcolonial Africa and the developing world. No existing study of Soyinka's works and career has attempted such a systematic investigation of their complex relationship to politics.

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