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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Speaking through the Wound: Irruption and Memory in the Writing of Ben Okri and Festus Iyayi
Author:Armstrong, Andrew
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:civil wars
Nigerian-Biafran War
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
About persons:Ben Okri (1959-)ISNI
Festus IyayiISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/713674312
Abstract:This paper looks at the representation of war and social turbulence in postindependence Nigerian fiction. One of the effects of militarism in postcolonial Nigeria, with its apogee in the civil war, was an irruption in the narrative of national and individual development and a rupture within the social body equivalent to disease. The paper explores the phenomenon of irruption on two levels. Firstly, as that condition of social dislocation and general anomie arising from destructive militarism and secondly, as a metaphor for the work of the writer, of writing as a 'violent' but positive disturbance of the stasis caused by war and military violence. Focusing on the responsibility of art, of writing, to 'restore the narrative', the paper looks at the language of Ben Okri in 'Stars of the new curfew' (1988) and 'Dangerous love' (1996) as an attempt to create a space for healing and transcendence by destabilizing the accepted norms, disrupting the conventions of the reader-writer relationship through the use of pointed and violent imagery. It also looks at the social realist form used by Festus Iyayi in 'Heroes' (1986), as a vehicle for representing the horrors of war. Bibliogr., ref., sum.