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Periodical article Periodical article ASC Leiden catalogue ASC Leiden catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A formal approach to African literature.
Author:Harrow, K.W.
Year:1990
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Volume:21
Issue:1
Pages:79-89
Language:English
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:literary criticism
literature
Abstract:African literary criticism has been characterized by a disregard for intrinsically African literary qualities and a preoccupation with extraliterary qualities, substituting cultural motivations and explanations, and historical social changes, for literary choices and effects. In this study the author uses the formal approach which restores the text to its proper place by defining its relationship to other texts as the primary constituents of the discourse to which it belongs. Applying two formalist notions, defamiliarization and its opposite, automization, he shows that prior literary texts play a major role in locating a given text within a literary system. Art defamiliarizes art, and the impulse to move beyond the automatized is grounded most naturally within the system of art, and only secondarily the larger social system. To illustrate this, the author analyses the relationship between 'L'enfant noir' by Camara Laye (1953) and 'Une vie de boy' by Ferdinand Oyono (1956). Bibliogr., notes, ref.