African Fiction and Joseph Conrad

Reading Postcolonial Intertextuality

By Byron Caminero-Santangelo

Subjects: Postcolonial Studies, Literary Theory, African Studies
Paperback : 9780791462621, 182 pages, December 2004
Hardcover : 9780791462614, 182 pages, December 2004

Table of contents



Beyond Writing Back: Alternative Uses of Postcolonial Cultural Hybridity

1. Extravagent Aberrations: Conrad, Hybridity, and Chinua Achebe's No Longer At Ease

2. Under Kenyan Eyes: Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Re-Vision of Under Western Eyes

3. Legacies of Darkness: Neo-Colonialism and Conrad in Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North

4. Subjects in History: Disruptions of the Colonial in Heart of Darkness and July's People

5. Struggling Toward the Postcolonial: The Ghost of Conrad in Ama Ata Aidoo's Our Sister Killjoy



Works Cited


Interrogates the "writing back to the center" approach to intertextuality and explores alternatives to it.


By exploring the relationships between African novels and Joseph Conrad's fiction, this book examines the many discontinuous functions postcolonial revisions of "the canon" can serve. While contemporary literary studies too often represent such revisions merely as a means for postcolonial writers to challenge a colonial worldview, Caminero-Santangelo explores how African authors engage with a wide range of historically specific ideologies generated by particular histories of national independence and the development of postcolonial nations. The shift in focus away from a single colonial moment enables Caminero-Santangelo to detect a complex interweaving of convergence and divergence between Conrad and African writers such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Nadine Gordimer, Tayeb Salih, and Ama Ata Aidoo, who use Conradian intertexts to intervene in repressive situations in late-twentieth-century Africa. By emphasizing the need to contextualize acts of writing and rewriting in precise historical terms, the author points to the limitations—even the dangers—of the standard cultural binary (Western-colonial/African-postcolonial) and the static dialectic of colonial domination and postcolonial resistance embraced by much recent cultural criticism.

Byron Caminero-Santangelo is Associate Professor of English at the University of Kansas.


"African Fiction and Joseph Conrad is accessible, and will be a good resource for students. " — Wasafiri

"The value of this work lies in its demonstration that postcolonial African literature goes far beyond 'writing back' to literary works by Western authors, Joseph Conrad being the prime example. By 'writing back,' Caminero-Santangelo means responding to the assertions, often identified as racist, made in earlier works by African writers seeking to counter false Western claims about African people and cultures … This book will be particularly valuable to those interested in non-Western writing. " — CHOICE

"Caminero-Santangelo's interpretation of Conrad's influence on modern African fiction is original and convincing. " — Adeleke Adeeko, author of Proverbs, Textuality, and Nativism in African Literature