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Fictions of African Dictatorship

Cultural Representations of Postcolonial Power

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Edited By Charlotte Baker and Hannah Grayson

Fictions of African Dictatorship examines the fictional representation of the African dictator and the performance of dictatorship across genres. The volume includes contributions focusing on literature, theatre and film, all of which examine the relationship between the fictional and the political. Among the questions the contributors ask: what are the implications of reading a novel for its historical content or accuracy? How does the dictator novel interrogate ideas of veracity? How is power performed and ridiculed? How do different writers reflect on questions of authority in the postcolony, and what are the effects on their stories and modes of narration? This volume untangles some of the intricate workings of dictatorial power in the postcolony, through twelve close readings of works of fiction. It interrogates the intersections between real and literary space, exploring censorship, political critique and creative resistance. Insights into a wide range of lesser known texts and contexts make this volume an original and insightful contribution to scholarship on representations of dictatorship.

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Contents

CHARLOTTE BAKER AND HANNAH GRAYSON

Introduction: Fictions of African Dictatorship

PART I    Portrait of a Dictator

ANGIE EPIFANO

1    The Image of Sékou Touré: Art and the Making of Postcolonial Guinea

KHALID LYAMLAHY

2    From Dictatorship to Self-Constitution: Historical Fiction and Aesthetics of Tyranny in Bensalem Himmich’s Le Calife de l’épouvante

RITA KERESZTESI

3    Bekolo’s ‘Dictator’: Televised

PART II   Performance and Myth-Making

ELINE KUENEN

4    Creation through Inversion: The Carnivalesque Postcolonial State in the Novels of Alain Mabanckou and In Koli Jean Bofane

MARIA MURESAN

5    From Ritual to Fiction: The Wizard of the Crow

BINDI NGOUTÉ LUCIEN

6    Mythical Representations of Dictatorial Power and their Real Referents in the Novels of Ahmadou Kourouma

PART III  Compromised Freedoms

ALYA EL HOSSEINY

7    The Author and the Authoritarian: Gamal al-Ghitani’s al-Zaynī Barakāt

KERRY VINCENT

8    The One Who Does His Majesty’s Bidding: Censorship and the Banality of Power in siSwati Crime Fiction and Drama

MADELEINE WILSON

9    ‘My characters, my plots, are under my pen’: Authority as dictatorship in King-Aribisala’s The Hangman’s Game

PART IV  Forms of Resistance

F. FIONA MOOLLA

10  Figuring the Dictator in the Horn of Africa: Nuruddin Farah’s Dictatorship Trilogy and Ahmed Omar Askar’s Short Stories

ASANTE LUCY MTENJE

11  ‘Under the Lion’s Gaze’: Female Sexualities under Dictatorship in Selected Fiction from Malawi

LORENZO MARI AND TERESA SOLIS

12  Mighty Mouth, Minor Literature: Siad Barre’s Dictatorship in Italian Postcolonial Literature

Notes on Contributors

Index