First appearing as a series of letters to a local newspaper, “The Life Story of Me, Segilola” caused a sensation in Lagos in the late 1920s. The lifelike autobiography of a repentant courtesan, it regaled the reader with risqué escapades, pious moralising and vivid evocations of urban popular culture. The narrative and the commentary that sprang up around it in the Yoruba press offer a unique view of life in colonial Lagos. Today it is recognised as I.B.Thomas's work and hailed as the first Yoruba novel in a major African literary tradition. This volume presents the edited Yoruba text with translation, selected newspaper correspondence, and an introductory essay showing how the text emerged from the Yoruba print culture of the time.
Print Culture and the First Yoruba Novel has won the
Paul Hair Prize 2013!
Recent developments in the cultural history of written culture have omitted the specificity of practices relative to writing that were anchored in colonial contexts. The circulation of manuscripts and books between different continents played a key role in the process of the first globalization from the 16th century onwards. While the European colonial organization mobilised several forms of writing and tried to control the circulation and reception of this material, the very function and meaning of written culture was recreated by the introduction and appropriation of written culture into societies without alphabetical forms of writing. This book explores the extent to which the control over the materiality of writing has shaped the numerous and complex processes of cultural exchange during the early modern period.
African History seeks to publish scholarly writing on the history of Africa. It welcomes submissions on the history of any part of the continent and its islands. Works could range from the earliest epochs through to the recent past. Particularly welcome are studies that bring to light new archival materials, offer new interpretations of established sources or arguments, and that are interdisciplinary in method but historically-grounded.
We are keen to have the publications in this series widely available on the African continent and therefore pursue co-publishing arrangements with local publishers.