Landlines in African Literary Studies


Editor: Gordon Collier
The notion of ‘landlines’ intimates communication, and is a fairly safe bet as far as most of the writing offered here, critical and creative, is concerned. In a way, of course, the metaphor is a rearguard action, and blows up in one’s face, as it were, suggesting as it does a system of telephonic communication that is no longer typical of Africa, which is at the forefront of cellphone culture. On the more positive side, it is hoped that ‘landlines’ evoke traditional values, permitting the endorsement of communicative standards that are higher than those fostered by the ‘etherial’ chaos of cyberspace.
The essays included are overwhelmingly concerned with Nigeria (productive power-house of the continent), covering such writers as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Vincent Egbuson, Buchi Emecheta, D.O. Fágúnwà, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Femi Osofisan (two articles), Wole Soyinka, and Ahmed Yerima. The Nigerian novel (four articles) is roughly matched by studies of Nigerian dramatists (five articles). Also offered are three essays on fiction from outside Nigeria, by Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana), J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), and Marie NDiaye (France), and a treatment of the poetry of Jack Mapanje (Malawi). A further, wide-ranging essay, on cityscapes, discusses novels from Cameroon, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Kenya, as well as paintings from Equatorial Guinea and public placarding in Accra. Social awareness, a firm sense of history and traditional culture, the contemporary challenges of gender and identity-politics, and the perennial theme of endemic corruption are themes that underpin all of the contributions to Matatu 47.
Matatu has traditionally fostered the publication of creative writing, and the present issue is no exception, featuring as it does poetry from Trinidad, a play from Nigeria, and short stories from Burundi, Ghana, and Nigeria. The volume closes with in-depth reviews of books on Yorùbá proverbs, Chinua Achebe, and transnational literature.

Contributors are: E.B. Adeleke, Tony E. Afejuku, Sophia Akhuemokhan, Niyi Akingbe, Sunday Victor Akwu, Félix Ayoh’Omidire, Dele Bamidele, Gilbert Braspenning, Clare Counihan, Jane Duran, Summer Edward, Pelumi Folajimi, Fausat M. Ibrahim, Isaiah U. Ilo, Ayodele S. Jegede, Mahrukh Khan, Adele King, Adebayo Mosobalaje, Dorothy Odartey–Wellington, H. Oby Okolocha, Harry Olufunwa, Owojecho Omoha, Wumi Raji, Marie–Thérèse Toyi, Flora A. Trebi–Ollennu, Kenneth Usongo, and Lendzemo Constantine Yuka.

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Gordon Collier, D.phil., Justus Liebig University, Giessen, is co-editor and technical editor of the Brill/Rodopi series Matatu and Cross/Cultures, and has published, edited, and co-edited monographs and articles on translation, iconography, and British and postcolonial literature.
Editor’s Preface

JANE DURAN - Emecheta, Culture, and The Bride Price
H. OBY OKOLOCHA AND LENDZEMO CONSTANTINE YUKA - Neologism and Dual Gender Status: The Socio-Political Implications of Tess Onwueme’s The Reign of Wazobia
WUMI RAJI - In Place/Out of Place: Crossings and Cross-Cultural Connections in Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s In Dependence
DELE BAMIDELE AND SUNDAY VICTOR AKWU - Bourgeois Politics and Ideology in Vincent Egbuson’s Womandela
ADEBAYO MOSOBALAJE - The Transition from a Mythopoeic to a Populist Aesthetic in Selected Political Plays of Wole Soyinka
Myths, Legends, and Contemporary Nigerian Theatre: The Example of Femi Osofisan
PELUMI FOLAJIMI - Incorporating the Audience into Performance: Femi Osofisan’s Once Upon Four Robbers
HARRY OLUFUNWA - Resident Aliens: Identity-Politics in the Drama of Ahmed Yerima
DOROTHY ODARTEY–WELLINGTON - Fictional and Street Narratives: The Textual Scaffolding of Contemporary African Cities
FAUSAT M. IBRAHIM AND AYODELE S. JEGEDE - Naturalism and Health in Fágúnwà’s Novels
OWOJECHO OMOHA - Memory and Poetry: Imagining the Present to Reconnect the Past in The Chattering Wagtails of Mikuyu Prison by Jack Mapanje
CLARE COUNIHAN - Childless Mothers and Motherless Children: Fantasies of Postcolonial Reproduction in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
MAHRUKH KHAN - Motherhood and the Measure of Truth in J.M. Coetzee’s Age of Iron
ADELE KING - La Question de différence dans l’œuvre de Marie NDiaye

Creative Writing:
MARIE–THÉRÈSE TOYI - The Voice of Pigmies
ISAIAH U. ILO - A Night Longer: A Short Play

All those interested in African literature, culture, and society.