20TH and 21ST Century Literary Voices on Colonialism and Beyond: The Case of Adichie and Achebe

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University Of Ghana


Colonialism and its aftermath remain a perennial theme of modern African literature. This theme has attracted a lot of comments from literary critics: there have been concerns that African literature has sacrificed art for politics, that it has remained imaginatively timid and dull. African literature of the 21st century is expected to have a new face, a new face it will have, perhaps, by putting behind her the dark past of colonialism, racism and marginalization so that she can be more imaginatively aggressive and expansive. Yet the theme of colonialism remains, sitting side by side with the new concerns that 21st century African writers address in their works. This thesis seeks to examine the perennial theme of colonialism in 20th and 21st century African literature. I examine the peculiar approaches that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie adopts in writing stories about colonialism and beyond, comparing her works to Chinua Achebe in a bid to identify where they converge and diverge in telling the African story. I also examine how the concepts of transnationalism, cosmopolitanism and interstitial postcoloniality impact the commitment a writer takes in telling stories of colonialism and beyond. The study argues finally that the bold new approaches that Adichie has adopted in telling postcolonial stories are as a result of the heritage of Achebe as a forerunner in African literature, and more importantly because of her expansion of her work through extra-territorialism and cross-cultural initiations (Bhabha, 1994.)


MPhil. African Studies


Colonialism, Achebe, Adichie, Modern African Literature