The Novel in Africa

1218 words 5 pages

John Maxwell Coetzee is a South African essayist, novelist , linguist, literary critic and translator. He has also won the Noble prize in the Literature category. The following lecture ‘The Novel in Africa’ was given by him in the University of California in Doreen B.Townsend Center for the Humanities.
This lecture is a fictionalized creation of J.M .Coetzee, which upholds his belief that, “…a true sense in which writing is dialogic; a matter of awakening counter voices in oneself and embarking on speech with them.” The two central characters in this lecture, namely Elizabeth Costello a middle aged Australian lady novelist and Emmanuel Egudu are therefore the two counter voices in this piece which is both a lecture as
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They are able to beautifully replicate their sensual experience which is because a true African novel is truly an oral novel.
For Emmanuel the African novel is the ‘critique’ of the western novel. Or we can say that it is oral versus the written novel. When a woman asks him about Amos Tutuola, and why was he not respected by his fellow Nigerians and was he the correct example of an oral writer that Emmanuel had in his mind? He says yes and the reason why Amos was not respected by his fellow Nigerians was because they did not want the world to think that they were illiterates

who did not know how to write English because Tutuola being true to the oral tradition, wrote the way he spoke and felt and thus his writings were packaged of to the west as something exotic. He ends his speech with reference to Ben Okri asking people to read him as he ‘negotiates the contradictions of being himself’ for his readers, and ends his talk before it became to heavy.
When Emmanuel is suggested by Shirley to compose straight on to tape, he replies that it is a good idea but it will not


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