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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The growth of a literary tradition in East Africa
Author:Wanjala, Chris
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Research and Development
Geographic term:East Africa
Abstract:The author deliberately dwells on the literary works of the major writers in the East African region. In this exercise he seeks to show that the vague liberalism and universalism which the East African literary intellectual wielded came from the position of disadvantage in which he has operated for a long time vis-a-vis the western critic. He needed to recognize the forces at play in his own society before he could talk of the universal. Today literary discussions focus on socialist realism, and the way a writer who stands on the side of the majority provides a critical awareness which has to help in the liberation programme of his people. The engagement to the English tradition at Makerere University College was replaced by the ideas of the Leeds post-graduate school which brought fundamental changes in people's attitudes towards literary studies. The challenge open to East African literary intellectuals is how they can have a foot in the East African experience and still operate as critics of world literature. Suspicious about operating within universalism, the East African man of letters has pruned his approach and made it to focus on the social realities as they are felt in his East African geographical space and time. Notes.