Where is the Text?

Babatunde Ayeleru
June 2011
Matatu: Journal for African Culture & Society;2011, Issue 39, p273
Academic Journal
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is undoubtedly one of the most thematically and stylistically enduring African works of literature. The fifth decade of its publication was celebrated in 2008 within and beyond Nigeria by literary scholars and critics. The University of Ibadan was not left out of this festivity as literary practitioners, both at home and in the diaspora, congregated to commemorate the enviable achievement of one of their most illustrious alumni. As this celebration is on-going, this essay examines how Things Fall Apart has been received by Nigerian students as part of the curriculum of various English departments. It also critiques current responses to the novel. Applying postcolonial theory, the article insists on establishing a link between the divisions of Négritude and Soyinka's 'tigritude'. The essay concludes by advocating the revalorizationof the early African writings and encouraging curriculum planners and reviewers to return to the drawing board and ensure that these early or purportedly over-flogged texts regain prominence in academic curricula, particularly at the tertiary level, since the majority of these works are still largely unexplored. Publishers of these literary creations should also endeavor to ensure that copies are readily available.


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