The critical reception of Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, in England and America, 1952-1974

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ebele Ofama Eko (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
William G. Lane

Abstract: This study examined and compared the critical reception in England and America of three internationally known African writers, Amos Tutuola, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka. It was hypothesized that because of England's world-wide colonial relationships and close ties with Nigeria, and because many English critics have taught in Nigerian universities, English reception of these writers would differ considerably from that in America: reflecting more tolerance for different cultural values and for background elements; a deeper insight into the significance of the works in their context; and generally more perceptive commentaries. It assumed that American distance from Nigeria would be reflected in American critics' relative lack of interest in the cultural backgrounds of the works, in colonial themes and in comparatively more parochial attitudes. As background information, the study reviewed sample African and non-African views on critical standards for evaluating African works. Africans generally resent foreign critics who treat African literature in English as a mere extension of English literature. They insist that their literature be judged in context and purely on its own merits as works of art, while recognizing the deep influences of African cultures, forms, techniques, and world view. Most non-African critics agree with these views in principle, if not always in practice. Some argue that African literature in English must be judged by Western canons of criticism.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1974
Tutuola, Amos $x Criticism and interpretation
Achebe, Chinua $x Criticism and interpretation
Soyinka, Wole $x Criticism and interpretation
African literature (English) $y 20th century
Nigerian literature $y 20th century

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