The Swahili Novel

October 2013
201 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781847010797
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
James Currey
BISAC LIT004010, FOR042000

The Swahili Novel

Challenging the Idea of 'Minor Literature'

Xavier Garnier

An overview of the Swahili novel, its place in a globalized world and a reflection on the status and dynamism of Kafka's concept of 'minor literature'.
For more than fifty years a dynamic modern literature has been developing in the Kiswahili language. The political weight that Kiswahili carries as the emerging national and pan-national language of many East African countries places this literature, much of it in the form of novels, at the centre of heated literary debates on the social function of literature in the context of rapid global social change.
Garnier provides new insights into the Swahili novel form with all its vibrancy and capacity for experimentation. Its obsession with social issues relates to larger, all-pervasive political debates running through East Africa: in its press, its streets, its public and private places. The novels both record and provoke these debates. Based on the study of more than 175 Swahili novels by almost 100 authors, Garnier brings to light a body of work much neglected by African literary critics, but which looks outwards to the wider world.

Xavier Garnier teaches African Literature at the Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle and is former director of the Centre d'Etudes des Nouveaux Espaces Littéraires, Université Paris 13.

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Keywords: African Studies

Table of Contents

Narrating Values: Describing a World
Shaaban Rober: The Optimism of Writing
The Crisis of the Bildungsroman
Euphrase Kezilahabi: An Initiatory Realism
The Political Novel
Mohamed Suleiman Mohamed: Narrating a Dual Reality
Criminals & the Corrupted
Investigations & Enigmas
Said Ahmed Mohamed: The Dark Side of Images


2015 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Highly recommended. CHOICE

Full of inspiring ideas, fresh perspectives, and creative reflections of Swahili literary texts, Garnier's work is a highly valuable contribution to Swahili literary studies. Alena Rettova,Research in African Literatures

Garnier's book brings new insights to the subject through his use of Kafka's concept of 'minor/small literatures' ...This book a careful reflection, written in an elegant style, on the complex subject of the very connection between literature and society itself..a remarkable study. Josias Semujanga, Compte rendus, litteratures en langues africaines

...based on the study of ... 175 Swahili novels by almost 100 authors, representing a body of work much neglected by African literary critics but which deserves to be translated.- Anthony Mangeon

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