The Novel in Africa

1207 WordsApr 2, 20135 Pages
THE NOVEL IN AFRICA John Maxwell Coetzee is a South African essayist, novelist , linguist, literary critic and translator. He has also won the Noble prize in the Literature category. The following lecture ‘The Novel in Africa’ was given by him in the University of California in Doreen B.Townsend Center for the Humanities. This lecture is a fictionalized creation of J.M .Coetzee, which upholds his belief that, “…a true sense in which writing is dialogic; a matter of awakening counter voices in oneself and embarking on speech with them.” The two central characters in this lecture, namely Elizabeth Costello a middle aged Australian lady novelist and Emmanuel Egudu are therefore the two counter voices in this piece which is both a lecture as…show more content…
Elisabeth says then there will never be any solution to the problem of novel in Africa if the Africans wanted a ‘living voice’. The main problem faced by them was because the African writers unlike the French and the English were not acting as writers but were actually behaving like interpreters of their exotic cultures and that the root of their problem was ‘ Having to perform your Africanness at the same time as you write.’ And that the Africans should learn from the Australians who faced a similar problems but got out of it when they considered themselves to be mature enough to handle and market their own writer ship. Elisabeth’s personal opinion is that people like Emmanuel and his friends will go on ranting about the African novel, which according to her is a very muddled business, as long as it gets them a living and that Emmanuel is exoticising himself only to make money and nothing else and to enjoy the additional perks which come with the territory. So according to Elisabeth, Emmanuel is no longer a fellow writer but a fellow entertainer. Thus we see how J.M. Coetzee successfully shows the future of the novel in Africa and its problems with the two conflicting characters of Elizabeth Costello and Emmanuel Egudu and as according to a critic “typically produces irritation or discomfort” in a
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