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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:At home in the world? Re-framing Zambia's literature in English
Author:Primorac, RankaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:Zambia
English language
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2014.909257
Abstract:This article problematizes and questions the conventional critical stance on Zambia's writing in English (which casts it as aesthetically sub-standard and ' underdeveloped' ), by recasting it as the embodiment of a local literariness of crisis. For much of its history, written literary texts from Zambia have been produced by a tiny cultural elite, which was prevented (by economic and political circumstances) from specializing in, or professionalizing, the practice of producing English-language literature. Furthermore, the economic, political and cultural determinants of Zambia's decolonization and its postcolonial history have given rise to a body of work in which the aesthetic functioning of texts is often integrated with pronounced non-aesthetic functionality. This is to say that, in this part of south-eastern Africa, the presence of nationalist pedagogy in literary works produced immediately after independence frequently shades into other kinds of pragmatism, which may entail religious and spiritual moralism - and that this kind of literariness continues today, when Pentecostal Christianity exerts a strong influence on all kinds of local texts and meanings. Relying in part on terminologies related to world literature and new cosmopolitanisms, the author argues that such texts should, nevertheless, be regarded as participating in a specifically shaped system of literariness and literary value. The author illustrates his argument with readings of strategically selected moments in the history of Zambian fiction in English: the path-breaking work of Lusaka's New Writers' Group and novels by Dominic Mulaisho and Grieve Sibale. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]