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    Imagined nations and imaginary Nigeria: Chinua Achebe’s quest for a country

    Msiska, Mpalive-Hangson (2014) Imagined nations and imaginary Nigeria: Chinua Achebe’s quest for a country. Journal of Genocide Research 16 (2-3), pp. 401-419. ISSN 1462-3528.

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    Abstract

    The article argues that Chinua Achebe’s memoir, There was a country: a personal history of Biafra (2012) articulates a hankering after a home, a habitable country in the context of colonially-derived contradictions embedded in the institutional formation of Nigeria, the failure of the nationalist and postcolonial leadership to resolve such contradictions as well as the legacy of ethnicity. It demonstrates how the memoir expresses the writer’s despair at unfulfilled hopes, whilst also celebrating utopic moments, such as his colonial childhood, the independence of Nigeria and the founding of Biafra. It is the dramatic contrast between promise and actuality that engenders a deep sense of loss, just as it inspires the belief in the possibility of a transformed and habitable Nigeria. Using trauma theory, the article also argues that the memoir is committed to ‘working through’ the historical trauma, as demonstrated by its breaking the national silence over the Nigerian civil war (1966-1970), its assertion that a genocide had been perpetrated against the Biafrans and the need for accountability and justice.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, Nigerian Literature, African literature, Nation, Biafra, Trauma, Genocide, Post-colonial conflict, Memory, Memoir, Post-colonial Life-Writing
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Research Centre: Contemporary Literature, Centre for
    Depositing User: Mpalive-Hangson Msiska
    Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2017 07:03
    Last Modified: 07 Apr 2017 07:09
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/17703

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