Amos Tutuola The most famous  un-famous Nigerian author
The Palm-Wine Drinkard <ul><li>1952 </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Faber & Faber in the United Kingdom </li></ul><u...
Try the story <ul><li>Ashes, a gold trinket, and a half-bodied baby. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>And yet discuss...
The two sides of the story   Poetic language &quot;he could eat the whole food in this world without satisfaction&quot;; c...
<ul><li>Geoffrey Faber at Faber & Faber sent it to a native of Abeokuta then living in London to find out if the manuscrip...
<ul><li>Language - my book p. 54 </li></ul><ul><li>For some it is a reflection of an english &quot;as she is spoke&quot;; ...
<ul><li>Definition of originality - for many African critics, folktales weren't original; for many Western critics, they w...
<ul><li>But primarily African critics insisted that the book is not representative African - not of the language, not of t...
<ul><li>And most of Nigeria's famous authors and critics - are Ibo. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Book appears 1952 </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas reviews 1953 </li></ul><ul><li>Beginnings of independent government 195...
<ul><li>Usual map shows nothing - makes you wonder why, if you know anything of the history of the area, Ibadan or Lagos o...
In other words: Tutuola is a complicated topic. <ul><li>To understand not just the story but the value of the story, you h...
<ul><li>Tutuola is a writer in english, a Nigerian writer, a working-class writer, a Yoruba writer, a writer of the 50s, a...
How does this relate to you? <ul><li>Have you read stories you would call Long Island stories? </li></ul><ul><li>Suffolk C...
<ul><li>And does it matter? </li></ul>
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Fa2011 tutuola presentation

  1. 1. Amos Tutuola The most famous un-famous Nigerian author
  2. 2. The Palm-Wine Drinkard <ul><li>1952 </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Faber & Faber in the United Kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>T.S. Eliot was its editor </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Favorably reviewed by Dylan Thomas </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>21,000 copies of just the 1993 edition </li></ul>
  3. 3. Try the story <ul><li>Ashes, a gold trinket, and a half-bodied baby. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>And yet discussion on Nigerian authors often centers on questions like this one of whether Achebe or Soyinka is the best Nigerian author: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-2841.32.html </li></ul>
  4. 4. The two sides of the story   Poetic language &quot;he could eat the whole food in this world without satisfaction&quot;; concrete, surprising detail (28 lbs; lower voice &quot;like a telephone&quot;)   Ungrammatical, nonstandard english (run-on sentences; parenthetical statements to identify speakers (p. 216)
  5. 5. <ul><li>Geoffrey Faber at Faber & Faber sent it to a native of Abeokuta then living in London to find out if the manuscript was &quot;genuine&quot;, whether &quot;it has its roots in the common West African mind.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Nigerian critics, discussing Nigerian literature, following Nigerian independence, condemned Tutuola as uneducated, a poor example, and a plagiarist. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Language - my book p. 54 </li></ul><ul><li>For some it is a reflection of an english &quot;as she is spoke&quot;; for others (Thomas) it is poetic, unexpected. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Stories - copies of Yoruba folktales. Published about the same time as D. O. Fagunwa published similar stories in Yoruba. When later translated by Wole Soyinka, West Africa said &quot;white people did not like it very much, because the taste was already lost; in Yoruba the story will move you...&quot; (p 37) </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Definition of originality - for many African critics, folktales weren't original; for many Western critics, they were (entirely new to this audience!) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Literary predecessors - while Achebe's work is said to draw upon Thomas Hardy and Wole Soyinka upon the plays of Synge, Tutuola is drawing upon folkloric sources of oral rather than written source. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>But primarily African critics insisted that the book is not representative African - not of the language, not of the literature - and resented the possibility that it could be sold as exotica (p 64) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>As it turns out, the language is very representative - for Yoruba. (p 54, 74) </li></ul><ul><li>(Syntax, idioms - &quot;to hear a smell&quot;) </li></ul><ul><li>And it is also representative, not of the literature, but of the orature of the Yoruba. </li></ul><ul><li>(Features of a folktale - moral etc.) </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>And most of Nigeria's famous authors and critics - are Ibo. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Book appears 1952 </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas reviews 1953 </li></ul><ul><li>Beginnings of independent government 1954 </li></ul><ul><li>Independence 1960 </li></ul><ul><li>Biafran revolution 1967-1970 </li></ul><ul><li>Various military regimes until 1999 and the election of Olusegun Obasanjo - who was Yoruba </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Usual map shows nothing - makes you wonder why, if you know anything of the history of the area, Ibadan or Lagos or even Abeokuta aren't the capitals. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Need a map showing tribal divisions to show you why. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/ countries/Nigeria.html </li></ul>
  12. 12. In other words: Tutuola is a complicated topic. <ul><li>To understand not just the story but the value of the story, you have to be a bit of a textual scholar, a bit of a historian, a bit of an anthropologist, a bit of a folklorist, a bit of an economist, and a bit of a poet... </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>all at the same time. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Welcome to postcolonial studies. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Tutuola is a writer in english, a Nigerian writer, a working-class writer, a Yoruba writer, a writer of the 50s, a postcolonial writer -- </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Is it simple to say where he is from? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it simple to say what he represents? </li></ul>
  14. 14. How does this relate to you? <ul><li>Have you read stories you would call Long Island stories? </li></ul><ul><li>Suffolk County stories? </li></ul><ul><li>New York stories? </li></ul><ul><li>East Coast stories? </li></ul><ul><li>American stories? </li></ul><ul><li>Western stories? </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>How do they relate to how you define yourself? </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>And does it matter? </li></ul>

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