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Rettová, Alena (2016) 'Writing in the Swing? Neo-Realism in Post-Experimental Swahili fiction.' Research in African Literatures, 47 (3). pp. 15-31.

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This article traces the history of the Swahili novel in its development from realism to experimental prose, and following the experimental phase back to realism in the recent works of some of the former literary experimentators. This trend is called and defined here as “neo-realism.” The motivation for this return to realism is found in the domains of aesthetics; didacticism; reception of literature; politics and economy; and philosophy. The primacy of aesthetic and philosophical reasons motivating the move to “neo-realism” is questioned. The article instead places emphasis on the political and social driving forces behind the Swahili “neo-realist” writing. While postcolonial authors insist on the empowerment of the periphery, the affirmation of alterity, and economic and social development, the experimental novel appears to work against these aims through its glorification of chaos, of pathological states of mind, dissolving values, collapsing causality, undermining temporal and spatial orientation, disrupting cognitive continuity and clarity, and subverting language. The complexity of the experimental novel is perceived as an obstacle to an implementation of literature’s declared political and social agendas, such as criticism of corruption; women empowerment; education about medical issues; and ecology.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
Regional Centres and Institutes > Centre of African Studies
ISSN: 00345210
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2015 09:48

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