Bearing Witness Readers, Writers, and the Novel in Nigeria

ISBN-10: 0691058296
ISBN-13: 9780691058290
Edition: 2000
List price: $55.00 Buy it from $24.87
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Description: Greed, frustrated love, traffic jams, infertility, politics, polygamy. These--together with depictions of traditional village life and the impact of colonialism made familiar to Western readers through Chinua Achebe's writing--are the stuff of  More...

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Book details

List price: $55.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 6/19/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 376
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

Greed, frustrated love, traffic jams, infertility, politics, polygamy. These--together with depictions of traditional village life and the impact of colonialism made familiar to Western readers through Chinua Achebe's writing--are the stuff of Nigerian fiction. Bearing Witness examines this varied content and the determined people who, against all odds, write, publish, sell, and read novels in Africa's most populous nation. Drawing on interviews with Nigeria's writers, publishers, booksellers, and readers, surveys, and a careful reading of close to 500 Nigerian novels--from lightweight romances to literary masterpieces--Wendy Griswold explores how global cultural flows and local conflicts meet in the production and reception of fiction. She argues that Nigerian readers and writers form a reading class that unabashedly believes in progress, rationality, and the slow-but-inevitable rise of a reading culture. But they do so within a society that does not support their assumptions and does not trust literature, making them modernists in a country that is simultaneously premodern and postmodern. Without privacy, reliable electricity, political freedom, or even social toleration of bookworms, these Nigerians write and read political satires, formula romances, war stories, complex gender fiction, blood-and-sex crime capers, nostalgic portraits of village life, and profound explorations of how decent people get by amid urban chaos. Bearing Witness is an inventive and moving work of cultural sociology that may be the most comprehensive sociological analysis of a literary system ever written.

Figures
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Key Dates In Nigerian History
To Understand the Novel in Nigeria
In Nigeria
The Novel
To Understand
The Nigerian Fiction Complex
The Novels
The Writers
The Business
The Readers
Nigerian Novels
Village and City 12
Women and Men
Pen and Sword
Crime and Politics
Capturing the Past and Inventing the Future
Nigerian novels
Nigerian authors
Coding forms
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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