African Writing In English Essay

5364 words - 22 pages

African Writing in English
Dinesen, Isak, pseudonym of Baroness Karen Christence Blixen-Finecke, née Dinesen (1885-1962), Danish writer, born in Rungsted. She studied painting in various European cities. In 1914 she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, and went to live in British East Africa (now Kenya) on a coffee plantation. After her divorce in 1921 she remained in Africa, returning to Denmark in 1931. Her first book of stories, Seven Gothic Tales (1934), dealt in highly polished and subtle prose with the world of the supernatural, as did most of her later fiction. Out of Africa (1937), which was made into a movie released in 1985, was based on her experiences on the ...view middle of the document...

She also brought the manuscript that would become her first novel, The Grass is Singing (1950). Literary success came quickly; over the next ten years, Lessing published four more novels, in addition to stories, plays, reviews, and essays. She gained a reputation as a writer whose work probed both the personal and the political—particularly for women.. Along with her interest in racial and gender politics and intergenerational relationships, Lessing began to draw from the teachings of Sufism, a mystical form of Islam. Hints of the supernatural in the series' last entry are expanded in the five-volume science-fiction series Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979-1983). Later novels include The Good Terrorist (1985), The Fifth Child (1988), and Love, Again (1996); works focused on Africa include Collected African Stories (1973), African Laughter (1992), and Going Home (1996). Lessing has also published two volumes of her ongoing autobiography, Under my Skin (1994) and Walking in the Shade (1997). Critics praise Lessing's fierce, unsentimental honesty and her unique imagination, and many consider her one of the finest novelists writing in English today.
Césaire, Aimé (1913- ), innovative Martinican poet, playwright, and political leader, a founder of the Négritude movement and one of the most important black authors writing in French in the 20th century. As a historical movement, Négritude received two competing interpretations. Césaire's original conception sees the specificity and unity of black existence as a historically developing phenomenon that arose through the highly contingent events of the African slave trade and New World plantation system. This formulation was gradually displaced in intellectual debate by Senghor's essentialist interpretation of Négritude, which argues for an unchanging core or essence to black existence. As this later formulation gained currency, it was widely attacked, all the more so as Senghor, then president of an independent Senegal, came to use the term ideologically to justify his own political platform. Senghor's Négritude nonetheless served to reverse the system of values that had informed Western perception of blacks since the earliest voyages of discovery to Africa. Césaire's developmental model of Négritude, on the other hand, continues to offer a model for the ongoing project of black liberation in all its fullness, at once spiritual and political.
Achebe, Chinua (1930- ), Nigerian author, whose novel Things Fall Apart (1958) is one of the most widely read and discussed works of African fiction. In his first novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe retold the history of colonization from the point of view of the colonized. The novel depicted the first contact between the Igbo people and European missionaries and administrators. Since its publication, Things Fall Apart has generated a wealth of literary criticism grappling with Achebe's unsentimental representations of tradition, religion, manhood, and the colonial...

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