21 January 2009
Scholarly articles on African second-language literature
Studies of literatures in other languages surface now and then in scholarly journals, but there are still too few of them. There are two examples in Goatskin Bags and Wisdom: New Critical Perspectives on African Literature (2000). Ako Essien writes on "Communicative Competence and Dialogue in Bilingual Novels: Three Nigerian Novels as Case Study" and Dele Orisawayi writes on "Artistic Progression in Chinua Achebe's Experiment with the English Language in Two Novels." The three novels in Essien's study are Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God, Wole Soyinka's The Interpreters, and Ibrahim Tahir's The Last Imam. The two novels in Orisawayi's article are Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God. These studies, however, tend to use linguistics rather than literary theory. I have nothing against linguistics, but literary theory has a rather different view of the world, both the literary world and the everyday world. Graduate students, if you are looking for a thesis topic, try the area of literatures in other languages. It's an open field, and you will be one of the pioneers.