2009 MM African Intertextualities: Writing and Rewriting in Anglophone Fiction from Africa

From Angl-Am
Revision as of 17:59, 15 April 2009 by Anton Kirchhofer (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
  • Time: Tuesdays 10-12 am

Course Description

3.02.511 African Intertextualities: Writing and Rewriting in Anglophone Fiction from Africa

auch HS klausurvorbereitend Kirchhofer

The seminar will introduce students to some outstanding African fiction in English, and it will explore the connections between these novels and short stories through the lens of a key concept of late 20th century literary theory: intertextuality. The central focus will be on two writers who are rarely placed side by side: Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a Kenyan writer with a strong political commitment who has called for the abolition of English departments in Africa and who even gave up writing in English; and J. M. Coetzee, the South African Nobel prize winner who has sought to place himself in a European rather than African tradition, and has consistently rejected the idea of the political relevance of fiction. The seminar will analyse two of their most famous novels, comparing and contrasting them and exploring the possible intertextual connections between them. Additional material will include shorter fiction by Eskia Mphahlele, Amos Tutuola and Ben Okri.

Students should purchase the following books (preferably in the editions given here) and have read by the beginning of term:

  • J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace (1999), New York: Vintage, 2000 (ISBN: 0099284820).
  • Ngugi wa Thiong'o, A Grain of Wheat (1967), Oxford et al.: Heinemann, 1986 (African Writers Series, ISBN: 0435909878),

or: Ngugi wa Thiong'o, A Grain of Wheat, London: Penguin Classics, 2002 (ISBN 13: 978-0-14-118699-3).

For initial background information you may consult the following: Owomoyela, Oyekan, ed. A History of Twentieth-Century African Literatures, University of Nebraska Press, 1993. -- McLeod, John. Beginning Postcolonialism. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000. -- Allen, Graham, Intertextuality. London: Routledge, 2001.

Course Requirements for credits as a Master Module "English Literatures":

  • Regular attendance (you may miss up to two meetings, whatever the reasons) and active participation
  • An oral presentation of max. 20 minutes to introduce the seminar discussion in one of the sessions.
  • A contribution to one of the "expert groups" which take up recurring aspects of the individual meetings and place them in a comparative perspective.
  • A term paper (generally building on one or several of the issues raised in your presentation and “expert” contribution; length ca. 20 pages for M.Ed.Gym.; 10-12 pages for M.Ed.WiPaed.; deadline 1 Sep 2009).
  • Additionally, for students of the MA English Studies, a research project

Requirements for candidates for the Staatsexamenklausur:

  • Regular attendance and active participation.
  • A contribution to one of the "expert groups". Alternatively, you may join a group that produces short summaries of the seminar meetings which help you revise for the written exam.


Introduction. Technicalities.


Analysing Fiction: Recapitulation and practical application.



“National Allegories” – The debate about Fredric Jameson’s “Third World Literature in the Age of Multinational Capitalism”


Intertextuality: Concepts and Definitions


Es'kia Mphahlele, “Mrs. Plum”


A Grain of Wheat, the Mau Mau Wars and the Kenyan Independence: The Historical Background and the Structure of the Book.


National Allegory in A Grain of Wheat: What view of Kenya is expressed in the Fates of the Characters?


A revised episode: Rape and Dead Dogs, 1967 / 1986.


Disgrace and the Background of Post-Apartheid South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Violence and Crime, Land Reform.


National Allegory and European Intertextuality in Disgrace: What view of South Africa is expressed in the Fates of the Characters?


African Intertextualities in Disgrace: The Represention of Rape, the ‘Significance of Dogs’


Course Evaluation. – Final Discussion and Outlook: African Intertextualies


Feedback on Course Evaluation. – Workshop Presentation of Term Paper Projects.

Further Reading