Exchange of Intellectual Jabs: Could National Literature Controversies End?
The yardsticks for ascension to national literature in Africa characterized by multiethnic compositions, cultural and linguistic differences remain controversial. The problem as it were has become a sore spot in African literary scholarship. The language factor seems to be the most critical in the entire polemics while the potential loss of works cast in the modes of European languages prone to disqualification is nightmare dreaded by writers. African intellectuals occupy two distinct semi-circles of opposition camps i.e. those who argue that works in ethnic languages (vernacular literatures) are national literature and those who insist that it is rather those in European languages. African literary scholars have therefore found themselves on the crossroads. Are Vernacular literatures or works in European languages the true national literature? Can intellectual tirades and altercations cease if a neutral stance is taken in the herculean task of founding national literature? This prescriptive essay followed the qualitative approach using Earnest Renan’s “What is a Nation?” as its theoretical framework to carry out the enquiry. It tackled the questions raised in the background and came out with the results that there are national literature module one and module two which neologisms also remain its recommendations. This order derives from the fact that there are two legitimate concepts of nationhood according to Renan. The essay proffers these as solutions to unending and contending sheds of opinions, arguments and controversies on the subject matter that is ever dogging the African literary circle. The study consequently recommends that these two terms be used to separate African literary scholars exchanging intellectual jabs.
Aremu, Y.O. (2010). (Dé)voilement de l’Ecriture féminine francophone de Maghréb: Le cas de Djebar, l’évadée incarcérée. ANEUF, vol. 1 No. 7.
Asobele-Timothy, S. J. (2016). Littérature Nigériane Une Encyclopédie en Français. Lagos: Upper Standard Press.
Austen-Peters, O. (2005). Topic in Comparative Literature: A Handbook for University Students. Makurdi: Aboki Publishers
Bonn, C. (1974). La Littérature Algérienne de la Langue Française et Ses Lectures. Ottawa: Naaman.
Chukwuma, H. (1991). Accents in the African Novel. Enugu: New Generation Books.
Dathorne, O. R. (1974). African Literature in the 20th Century. USA: University of Minnesota.
Déjeux, J. (1978). Littéature Maghrébine de la Langue Française. Sherbrooke: Edition Naaman, 2ème édition.
Ekpo, D. (2005). Any European Around to Help me Talk About Myself? The White Man’s Burden of Black African’s Critical Practices. Third Text. vol. 19, Issue 2. London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis, pp. 107-124.
Emenyonu, E. N. (1989). Literature and National Consciousness. Ibadan: Heinemann.
Emenyonu, E. N. (Ed.) (2000). New Directions in African Literature. Ibadan: Heinemann.
Huannou A. & Bogniaho A.(2002). Littérature Africaine. Porto –Novo, Les Editions Infree
Laditan, A. O. & Adegboku, D. (2011). Enseigner le FLE, Former les autres En Hommage au Professeur Emmanuel Nwiah KWOFIE. Lagos: Villademic.
Maduka, C. T. & Ekpo, D. (2005) (eds). Compass: Essays in Honour of Willfried Feuser. Kiabara Book Series. Port Harcourt: Grand Orbit.
Maduka, C. T. (1982).’Comparative Literature: Concept and Scope’, in Comparative Approach to Modern African Literature. Asein S.O. (Ed.). Dept. of English, University of Ibadan, pp. 9-23.
Maduka, C. T. (1994). Across Frontiers: Comparative Literature and National Integration. (Inaugural Lecture). Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press.
Merad, G. (1976). La Littérature Algérienne d’Expression Française. Paris: P.J. Oswald.
Nnolim, C. E. (1992). Approaches to the African Novel: Essays in Analysis. Port Harcourt: Saros Interantional Publishers.
Nnolim, C. E. (1992). Literature, the Arts, and Cultural Development. Port Harcourt: Pam Unique Press.
P’Bitek, O. (1973). Africa’s Cultural Revolution, Nairobi: Macmillan.
Udumukwu, O. (2007). Nigerian Literature in English: Emerging Critical Perspectives. Port Harcourt: M & J Grand Orbit Communications.
Wa Thiong’o, N. (1981). Decolonizing the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. London: Currey.
Wright, E. (1973). Critical Procedures and the Evaluation of African Literature, Ibadan: Heinemann.
Copyright (c) 2022 Anthony Njoku, Juliet Elikwu
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The author fully assumes the content originality and the holograph signature makes him responsible in case of trial.