Identity, writing and subversion in African fiction

Dahhan, Bensalem (2004) Identity, writing and subversion in African fiction. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis compares postcolonial African writing of French and English expression, and investigates the intersection of identity and writing in selected texts by focusing on the subversive strategies deployed by their authors. This study examines six North African and sub-Saharan fictional texts by Abdelkebir Khatibi, Assia Djebar, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa and Nuruddin Farah, using postcolonialism as a theoretical framework through which to address their "double edged" critical consciousness: they are read both as in and against an emerging tradition of anticolonial writing. In my analysis of these selected texts, I examine the creative strategies used by African writers both to subvert colonial and nationalist constructions, and to articulate a sense of identity that is heterogeneous in relation to cultures, languages, ethnicities and sexualities. The four chapters address linguistic and literary decolonisation, gender, ethnicity, cultural hybridity, and internal colonialisms, as well as the problematics of representation, in paired readings of authors and texts. Chapter One introduces key issues and debates, by drawing on a body of critical approaches to develop a framework for analysing identity in African literary texts. Chapter Two looks at the role of history and memory in shaping postcolonial identity in two novels by Abdelkebir Khatibi and Chinua Achebe. Khatibi and Achebe's treatment of the intersection between history/memory and culture provides a valuable insight into the problematics of cultural identity and representation highlighted by postmodernism and poststructuralism. Chapter Three investigates the dilemmas and contradictions of emergent nationhood in two texts by Ben Jelloun and Farah. Here, I analyse the way in which both writers explore and expose the artifice of gender construction and the formation of national identity in the new nation. Chapter Four returns to the issue of gender in two novels by Assia Djebar and Flora Nwapa, drawing in particular on the oppositional strategies used by postcolonial African women writers to interrogate the gendered basis of authority and history.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Comparative Literature
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2004
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2004-83344
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2023 09:22
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2023 09:05
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83344

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