“We all stand before history”: (re)locating Saro-Wiwa in the Biafran war canon

Lecznar, Matthew (2018) “We all stand before history”: (re)locating Saro-Wiwa in the Biafran war canon. Research in African Literatures, 48 (4). ISSN 0034-5210

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Abstract

Since Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution in 1995, critical accounts of his intellectual legacy have tended to focus on the influence of the Ogoni struggle on his writing, and as a consequence have overlooked the role played by the Nigeria-Biafra war in the development of his intellectual sensibility. Given that Saro-Wiwa worked as a government administrator during the war, and wrote a novel, a memoir, and a book of poetry in response to the conflict, this article works to relocate his legacy in the trajectory of Biafran war literature. By exploring Saro-Wiwa’s negotiation of ideas of canon and history in his Biafran war writing, this article argues that the civil war is a traumatic but transformative preoccupation of his literary and political work. In doing so, it draws on theoretical insights about the self-reflexive narration of history and trauma, and engages with the potential for poetry to textually re-embody marginalized voices.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania > PL8000 African languages and literature
Depositing User: Matthew Lecznar
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 10:15
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2018 09:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72003

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