Catalogue


African feminist fiction and indigenous values /
Donald R. Wehrs.
imprint
Gainesville, FL : University Press of Florida, c2001.
description
xiii, 259 p.
ISBN
0813018846 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Gainesville, FL : University Press of Florida, c2001.
isbn
0813018846 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4393253
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-09-01:
Wehrs (Auburn Univ.) makes use of a combination of what he describes as "intensive reading" and "extensive contextualization" in his analyses of selected novels by six African women writers. The critiques of the work of Flora Nwapa, Zaynab Alkali, Mariama Ba, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Buchi Emecheta make up the largest portion of the book. This discussion is preceded, however, by a review of "postcolonial theory" and some of its main exemplars, from Homi Bhabha to Gayatri Spivak, and of Western feminism, including such of its interpreters as Alice Walker and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. Crucial to that analytical framework are Emmanuel Levinas and the poststructuralist developments of the French philosopher's phenomenological insights. In thus amalgamating a theoretical Euro-American genealogy with an African literary production, Wehrs--as his title suggests--raises significant questions about "African feminist fiction and indigenous values." Recommended for college and university libraries at all levels. B. Harlow University of Texas at Austin
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
Challenging most Western approaches to the interpretation of African texts, cultures, and histories, Donald Wehrs offers detailed readings of six novels to suggest that the feminism of the heroines, the logic of the plots, and even the very language of the narrators in these fictions rest upon conceptual and moral vocabularies drawn from indigenous African sources.Wehrs argues that these novelists, and the Islamic and indigenous African discourses they draw upon, conceive of the ethical in terms closer to those of the European Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas than to any of the moral theorizing -- from Hobbes to Derrida and Foucault -- characteristic of the modern West. He maintains that two of the authors he examines attempt to articulate a version of feminism that is consistent with principles of Islamic piety. Indeed, he continues, the feminism of all six novels ultimately rests upon an understanding of ethics that is radically at odds with the mainstream of contemporary literary theory.He proposes a reading that gives indigenous African writers a voice to "answer back" to the modern West without recourse to either nativism or abstraction, an approach to and an appreciation of African feminist fiction that overcomes major impasses in postcolonial theory. Beyond that, this book casts new light upon related issues of interest in women's studies, feminist theory, theories of the novel, cultural studies, and ethical philosophy.
Main Description
"Almost everyone in 20th-century literary studies will find this book valuable, as will most people interested in literary theory. It will be of particular interest to students of African and (more generally) Third World and postcolonial literature, to feminists of all stripes, and to those who are interested in philosophical approaches to literature. I would buy this book and consult it regularly."-- Satya P. Mohanty, Cornell University Challenging most Western approaches to the interpretation of African texts, cultures, and histories, Donald Wehrs offers detailed readings of six novels to suggest that the feminism of the heroines, the logic of the plots, and even the very language of the narrators in these fictions rest upon conceptual and moral vocabularies drawn from indigenous African sources. Wehrs argues that these novelists, and the Islamic and indigenous African discourses they draw upon, conceive of the ethical in terms closer to those of the European Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas than to any of the moral theorizing--from Hobbes to Derrida and Foucault--characteristic of the modern West. He maintains that two of the authors he examines attempt to articulate a version of feminism that is consistent with principles of Islamic piety. Indeed, he continues, the feminism of all six novels ultimately rests upon an understanding of ethics that is radically at odds with the mainstream of contemporary literary theory. He proposes a reading that gives indigenous African writers a voice to "answer back" to the modern West without recourse to either nativism or abstraction, an approach to and an appreciation of African feminist fiction that overcomes major impasses in postcolonial theory. Beyond that, this book casts new light upon related issues of interest in women's studies, feminist theory, theories of the novel, cultural studies, and ethical philosophy. Donald R. Wehrs, associate professor of English at Auburn University, has written on African fiction in Modern Language Notes and on Levinas and literature in The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem