A Prescience of African Cultural Studies: The Future of by Handel Kashope Wright

By Handel Kashope Wright

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Additional info for A Prescience of African Cultural Studies: The Future of Literature in Africa Is Not What It Was (Counterpoints (New York, N.Y.), Vol. 40.)

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Qxd 9/24/03 4:57 PM Page 33 Notes on (Re)Making Literature / 33 knowledge. However, I also think that it makes little sense to speak of literature without speaking of what in a work gives one pleasure, what one finds beautiful or moving, in short, some notion of the aesthetic value of the work. It is important to note, though, that I employ a much altered conception of “aesthetics” and assign it a strategic and much more limited role than it plays in received traditional western criticism. African aesthetics are often different from western aesthetics, and this dichotomy has important consequences for literary appreciation.

St. ” My classmates are whispering the usual noises of appreciation of his performance. ” Somehow, my heart is not in it. I am thinking about the scene the teacher is painting for us. Just how cold is that? I wonder to myself, risking a reprimand by turning my attention away from the teacher (who is continuing his rendition of Keats from his desk) to stare outside for inspiration. I am mildly surprised to see eight shirtless, sweating fourth formers still playing an intense game of soccer, risking suspension from school to achieve a decisive conclusion to their game.

Eagleton (1983) is one western literary critic who has exposed “the great tradition” of “national literature” as a construct, fashioned by particular people for particular reasons at particular historical junctures. , African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Latinas, Asian Americans, and women in general in the case of the American canon). While I understand Eagleton’s objections (shared by an increasing majority of white western radical critics) to the canon and the whole notion of canonization, I do not endorse his call for the demise of the canon for two main reasons.

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