FR Leavis, Kamau Brathwaite, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Chapter Three examines the influence of FR Leavis, architect of the Great Tradition, on the thinking of Kamau Brathwaite and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, two of the leading theorists of postcolonial literature. The chapter argues that Leavis's emphasis on a "living language," as he called it - that is, his belief that a robust spoken dialect is the basis of any great literary tradition - would be rearticulated by Brathwaite and Ngũgĩ in their calls for vernacular literature. The chapter goes on to discuss the close but fractious connections between the English department and postcolonial literature, arguing that Leavis's complex professional relationship with the discipline was one of his major bequests to postcolonial studies.
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