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New Developments in Postcolonial Studies

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Edited By Malgorzata Martynuska and Elzbieta Rokosz-Piejko

This book analyses the applicability of postcolonial theories and contemporary issues, and also revisits previously tackled cultural, social and literary phenomena. The contributions examine contemporary social, economic and cultural processes. The authors look back at older cultural texts, coming from either former colonies or former colonisers. They furthermore refer to the fact that theories of postcolonialism are currently more frequently applied to study countries originally not classified as colonial. They attempt to define and explain the experiences of the native peoples of colonial territories in various historical situations of dependence.

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Orality, Textuality and Literary Legacy in Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen (Rachael Sumner)

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Rachael Sumner

Orality, Textuality and Literary Legacy in Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen

Abstract: The article focuses on Chigozie Obioma’s 2015 novel The Fishermen, which is characterised by intertextuality, linguistic code switching and the raising of local events to the level of national myth. Such techniques position Obioma’s narrative firmly within Nigerian literary and oral traditions, while also infusing the text with postcolonial political agency.

Key words: intertextuality, code switching, colonisation, identity, Nigerian literature.

Chigozie Obioma’s debut novel The Fishermen was published to considerable critical acclaim in 2015. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Fishermen is a deeply personal narrative of tragedy, revenge and redemption. The novel’s appeal cannot, however, be explained purely on the basis of its emotive power. For, as Obioma has asserted, the central drama of his tale–the destruction of fraternal bonds–functions as a metaphor for the insidious effects of colonisation, in terms of its gradual erosion of values, beliefs and identity. “The idea of Nigeria did not come from us, the people,” states Obioma in his Man Booker interview. “We were on our own…we were many tribes and nations…then the foreigner comes and tells us, ‘look, this is how you ought to be.’ And sadly, we continue to believe and accept it” (Obioma, 2015).

The representation of an external force wreaking havoc amongst closely knit communities is a key trope in the literature of Obioma’s literary predecessors: Nigerian...

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