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One of most provocative and original voices in contemporary literature, Chinua Achebe here considers the place of literature and art in our society in a collection of essays spanning his best writing and lectures from the last twenty-three years. For Achebe, overcoming Eurocentrism in our appreciation of works of the imagination goes hand in hand with eradicating the destructive effects of racism and injustice in Western society. He reveals impediments that still stand in the way of open, equal dialogue between Africans and Europeans, between blacks and whites, but also instills us with hope that they will soon be overcome.
“A brilliant collection.... [Achebe’s] thoughts always pack a provocative wallop.... Mr. Achebe aims to nudge readers to think past their stubborn preconceptions, and he succeeds marvelously.”—New York Times Book Review
“These essays are funny, lucid, intelligent, and formed by a historical experience that is still too little understoon in the United States... [Achebe is] a powerful voice for cultural decolonialization.”—Village Voice
TABLE OF CONTENTS
An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Impediments to Dialogue Between North and South
Named for Victoria, Queen of England
The Novelist as Teacher
The Writer and His Community
The Igbo World and Its Art
Thoughts on the African Novel
Work and Play in Tutuola’s The Palm-Wine Drinkard
Don’t Let Him Die: A Tribute to Christopher Okigbo
Kofi Awoonor as Novelist
Language and the Destiny of Man
The Truth of Fiction
What Has Literature Got To Do With It?
Postcript: James Baldwin (1924-1987)
notes and index