Monday, October 13, 2008

...And Some Flak for American Literature

In a related news, the American literary world has received flak from Mr. Engdahl of the Nobel Academy for being "shallow". The comment according to NY Times "provoked a wave of indignation when he criticized American writers as “too isolated, too insular” and “too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture.” Europe, he declared, is “the center of the literary world.”

No American has won the Nobel literature prize since Toni Morrison did in 1993.

Well, no Nigerian has won the Nobel Literature Prize since Wole Soyinka did in... wait for it... 1986. If American literature, with the likes of Roth, Angelou, Ashbery et al is considered too insular, what does that say of Nigerian literature? Food for thought? Any thought for new Nigerian literatures that do not make the Military regime, civil wars, hunger and ritual sacrifices all that define us as a people? Any thought for the new literatures that acknowledge outside influence and mutations. Any new ideas from us to the world. Or are we finally done, finally culturally unravelled as not to have anything more to add to the world. If so, might that perhaps not be a new reality to be explored in new literatures?. Well, all tongue-in-cheek comments aside, it has been acknowledged that the Nobel exercise is as political as it is literary so there, such comments should not be taken as the final word on literature!

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