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Commonwealth of LettersBritish Literary Culture and the Emergence of Postcolonial Aesthetics$
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Peter J. Kalliney

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977970

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977970.001.0001

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For Continuity

For Continuity

FR Leavis, Kamau Brathwaite, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

(p.75) 3. For Continuity
Commonwealth of Letters

Peter J. Kalliney

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   English Department, History of, Postcolonial Literature, Caribbean Literature, African Literature, FR Leavis, Kamau Brathwaite, Ngugi wa Thiong'o

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