Title of the course


Chinua Achebe: Father of African Literature 1930 – 2013 (University of Vienna, Winter Semester 2013/2014, Department of African Studies)


Short description


The course will discuss and assess the contribution of Chinua Achebe to African and World literature. Close readings of his five novels Things Fall Apart in the late (1950), No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987), with reference to Achebe’s non-fiction works, in order to gain and in-depth understanding of his life and works. Critical and academic reception of the so-called “Father of African literature” will be examined against the backdrop of Nigerian history and developments in literary-critical approaches over the last 60 years. Among others, the following questions that will be addressed in the course: given his undisputed status as the father of African literature and the renown of Things Fall Apart, how do we account for the fact that Chinua Achebe was never awarded the Nobel prize for literature? Why in Africa is the relationship between prose and politics so intense and what characterises this relationship? What are the chief developments in critical appraisal and reception of Achebe’s works over the past 60 years? What are the chief developments in the thought and work of Achebe over his lifetime?


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