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Shaken Wisdom

Irony and Meaning in Postcolonial African Fiction
Gloria Nne Onyeoziri

BUY Cloth · 192 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813931869 · $55.00 · Sep 2011
BUY Paper · 192 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813931876 · $23.50 · Sep 2011
BUY Ebook · 192 pp. · ISBN 9780813932002 · $23.50 · Sep 2011

In her focus on irony and meaning in postcolonial African fiction, Gloria Nne Onyeoziri refers to an internal subversion of the discourse of the wise and the powerful, a practice that has played multiple roles in the circulation of knowledge, authority, and opinion within African communities; in the interpretation of colonial and postcolonial experience; and in the ongoing resistance to tyrannies in African societies. But irony is always reversible and may be used to question the oppressed as well as the oppressor, shaking all presumptions of wisdom. Although the author cites numerous African writers, she selects six works by Chinua Achebe, Ahmadou Kourouma, and Calixthe Beyala for her primary analysis.

Modern Language Initiative


"Shaken Wisdom is a delight to read. Onyeoziri’s mastery of African cultural practices and oral traditions, linguistic theory, and African literature is truly impressive. She brings together African authors from the early post-independence period to the present by focusing on their use of irony, which unites them across geographic location, generations, and ethnic origins. While not claiming that there is a specific ironic tradition that is uniquely African, Onyeoziri makes the case for the double-voiced verbal stance inherent in irony as being particularly important to African writers. Well-written, well-argued, and well-researched, the book brings a very special set of insights to African fiction, linguistic theories about irony, and gender studies."

Laura Rice, Oregon State University, author of Of Irony and Empire

About the Author(s): 

Gloria Nne Onyeoziri, Associate Professor in the Department of French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia, is the author of La parole poétique d’Aimé Césaire: essai de sémantique littéraire.

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