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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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Metropolitan Publisher as Postcolonial Clearinghouse

Metropolitan Publisher as Postcolonial Clearinghouse

The African Writers Series

(p.178) 6. Metropolitan Publisher as Postcolonial Clearinghouse
Commonwealth of Letters

Peter J. Kalliney

Oxford University Press

Chapter Six examines Heinemann Educational Book's African Writers Series, the preeminent literary institution of anglophone Africa. Critics have repeatedly asked whether the series is fundamentally imperialist - because of its links to the metropolitan publishing industry - or anti-imperialist - because it gave voice to so many politically engaged writers. This chapter, by contrast, places the series in the context of global changes in English studies. In the US and in metropolitan Britain, the series seemed to be participating in the fragmentation of the discipline: the breakup of Leavis's Great Tradition and the incorporation of minority writers into the canon. In Africa, however, it is possible to read the series as a part of an expansion and consolidation of English language and literary studies. How the series managed this apparent contradiction is the main topic of the chapter.

Keywords:   Postcolonial Literature, African Literature, English Department, History of, Book Publishing, History of, Chinua Achebe, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi wa Thiong'o

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