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Title:Chinua Achebe's 'Blue notes': toward a critical recording of 'Things fall apart's blues and jazz sensibility
Author:Okonkwo, Christopher
Periodical:Research in African Literatures (ISSN 0034-5210)
Geographic term:Nigeria
literary criticism
About person:Albert Chinualumogu Achebe (1930-2013)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v047/47.1.okonkwo.pdf
Abstract:Chinua Achebe's classic 'Things fall apart' has been widely translated, deservedly canonized, studied at schools worldwide, and examined from various disciplinary, theoretical, critical, and pedagogical angles. It is somewhat puzzling, however, that in the book's now almost sixty-year life, and despite what seems evidentially glaring, there is not a single published record that I know of that attempts to investigate the story's consolidative integrations of lyricized music and expressive performance or, more specifically in this case, reads the novel as a work that resonates a strong blues and jazz sensibility, a narrative that is also - for everything that has been said about it - amplifiable under the experiential, musical, and philosophic registers of blues and jazz. I argue that exploration of the novel through that overlooked blues and jazz lens yields substantial new knowledge about the novel and its deep crosscurrents and conversations with other African diaspora cultural and literary production. Bibliogr., notes, ref, sum. [Journal abstract]