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Palgrave Macmillan

Stylistic Approaches to Nigerian Fiction

ISBN 9781137264404
Publication Date August 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The combination of the words 'language' and 'Anglophone African literatures' generally brings to mind an aesthetic based on the use of proverbs and phrases borrowed from the writers' mother tongues. Such culturally specific features also characterize Nigerian fiction – but can this rich literary tradition really be reduced to its reliance on local languages and folklore? Answering this question in the negative, this book claims that the analysis of style in Nigerian fiction needs to be broadened to account for the range of linguistic techniques deployed by contemporary writers.

Drawing on the discipline of stylistics, this study introduces a series of methodological tools to demonstrate how sustained attention to form can foster understanding of content in selected works by some of the most widely celebrated Nigerian writers of recent times – Chris Abani, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Uzodinma Iweala and Ben Okri. Among the key issues addressed are the link between style and characterization, the interplay between aesthetics and ideology, and the relationship between language and representation. These different thematic approaches converge to suggest that, while the cultural specificity of Nigerian fiction cannot – and should not – be ignored, this body of works also needs to be freed from the straightjacket of critical and disciplinary orthodoxy that has too often restricted its interpretation. 
This book's interdisciplinary approach serves as an exciting template for future research into African and postcolonial literatures more broadly.

Daria Tunca works in the English Department of the University of Liège, Belgium. Her research focuses on stylistic approaches to African literatures, with a particular emphasis on contemporary Nigerian fiction.

1. Towards an 'African Stylistics'? Historiographical and Methodological Considerations
2. Of Palm Oil and Wafers: Characterization in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus
3. 'The Other Half of the Sun': Ideology in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun
4. Art is a Journey: Metaphor in Ben Okri's The Landscapes Within and Dangerous Love
5. 'Bi-textual' Poetics: Investigating Form in Chris Abani's Becoming Abigail
6. Children at War: Language and Representation in Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation and Chris Abani's Song for Night


"In discussing writers who belong to the 'post-Achebean' generation of Nigerian writing from the perspective of what its author terms 'African stylistics', Stylistic Approaches to Nigerian Fiction fills a notable gap in research. This book is distinguished by the author's concern to relate stylistic analysis to social and cultural specificities, by her exemplary exposition of the theories to which she has recourse, and by an eloquent lightness of touch that makes reading her work a pleasure. Stylistic Approaches to Nigerian Fiction deserves recognition in the wider field of post-colonial writing." – Professor Geoffrey Davis, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
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