Proverbs, Textuality, and Nativism in African Literature

Adélékè Adéèkó

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"Provocative, original, and consistently engaging. . . . It deals with the most significant issues in African literary studies today, issues of language, ideology, and identity that are relevant around the world."--Christopher L. Miller, Yale University

In one of the first studies to connect anglophone literary criticism with African localist tendencies of nativism, Adéèkó argues that nativism is a highly productive and intensely generative category in the formation of African literature and criticism. He shows the complexities of nativism (the call for authenticity and identity) both in writing and criticism and proposes that virtually all influential African criticism and writing can be discussed under any combination of three varieties of nativism: classical, structuralist, and linguistic.
In the process of arguing that the nativist temperament is not alien to contemporary literary theory and that the theories do not negate the motivating spirit of nativism, Adéèkó offers a self-reflexive reading of representative oral and written, national and ethnic African literatures. He suggests a deconstructive reading of Yoruba meta-proverbs and connects the critical arts of such well-known writers as Chinua Achebe (Arrow of God), Ayi Kwei Armah (Thousand Seasons), and Ngugi wa Thiongo (Devil on the Cross) to those of other national and ethnic writers like Femi Osofisan (Kolera Kolej) and Oladejo Okediji (Rere Run).

Adéléke Adéèkó is assistant professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His work has appeared in Ariel, Imprimatur, and Pretexts.

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"The book is a definite new and independent masterpiece by a scholar who has labored for several years to publish this theoretical and pragmatic study. A serious and ground breaking treatise on African literature, authenticity, identity, ideology, literary criticism, nativism, paremiology, and (inter) textuality. This book is thought-provoking, innovative, and ground-breaking and it argues its theoretical and interpretive points succinctly and convincingly. Any scholar or student of African literature and beyond as well as of proverbs should get acquainted with the intriguing findings of Adélékè Adéèkó" -Proverbium

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