ENGL 241(S) The African Novel (Same as Comparative Literature 241) (W)*

Is there such a thing as "the African novel?" In this class we will attempt to construct-and deconstruct-such an idea. We will begin with the era of independence movements, when writers were defining themselves as proudly African against a European tradition, and were appropriating the novel to do so. In the context of repressive regimes, however, post-independence novelists have opposed the state, creatively forging "imagined communities" that complicate both nationalism and pan-Africanism. From feminism to Marxism, from allegiances to local indigenous groups and their traditions to transnational identifications, these writers give us a glimpse of how rich and complex "African writing" has become. These novels range from magical realism to postmodern allegory, from elegiac prose poetry to comedy, and from historical romance to stark prison memoir; the class is an introduction to inventive and lyrical writing that deserves a global audience. Format: lecture/discussion. Requirements: The class will involve a lot of discussion, and a weekly journal of critical writing experiments of your own-different ways to read closely, or analyze texts with attention to detail, or to connect the novels to the history they take on-that will lead to three longer papers. No prerequisites. Enrollment limit: 25 (expected: 25). Preference given to International Studies: African Studies concentrators and prospective English majors. (Post-1900)