Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

  • Editor: Oliver Lovesey
  • Pages: ix & 265 pp.
  • Published: 2012
  • ISBN: 9781603291125 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9781603291132 (Paperback)

“Lovesey’s collection of essays is exemplary. It covers the full range of Ngũgĩ’s output both as a creative writer and as a critic, and it focuses on texts that are widely used in classrooms throughout the world.”

—Bernth Lindfors, University of Texas, Austin

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is one of the most important and celebrated authors of postindependence Africa as well as a groundbreaking postcolonial theorist. His work, written first in English, then in Gĩkũyũ, engages with the transformations of his native Kenya after what is often termed the Mau Mau rebellion. It also gives voice to the struggles of all Africans against economic injustice and political oppression. His writing and activism have continued despite imprisonment, the threat of assassination, and exile.

Part 1 of this volume, “Materials,” provides resources and background for the teaching of Ngũgĩ’s novels, plays, memoirs, and criticism. The essays of part 2, “Approaches,” consider the influence of Frantz Fanon, Karl Marx, and Joseph Conrad on Ngũgĩ; how the role of women in his fiction is inflected by feminism; his interpretation and political use of African history; his experimentation with orality and allegory in narrative; and the different challenges of teaching Ngũgĩ in classrooms in the United States, Europe, and Africa.

Pius Adesanmi
Michael Andindilile
F. Odun Balogun
Steve Gronert Ellerhoff
Ali Erritouni
Uzoma Esonwanne
Simon Gikandi
Michael Harris
Emilia Ilieva
W. O. Maloba
Kate McInturff
Evan Mwangi
Peter Nazareth
Gĩchingiri Ndĩgĩrĩgĩ
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Brendon Nicholls
James Ogude
Bonnie Roos
Peter Simatei
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Patrick Williams

Preliminaries

Preface (ix)

Oliver Lovesey

Orature in Education (1)

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: In Praise of a Friend (5)

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

PART ONE: MATERIALS

Introduction (11)

Editions (12)

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: A Brief Biography (13)

Historical and Political Contexts (16)

The Instructor’s Library (18)

Criticism (18)

Reference Works (21)

PART TWO: APPROACHES

Introduction (31)

Cultural, Political, and Historical Contexts

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: Writer and Critic (40)

Simon Gikandi

Gender and the Political in Ngũgĩ’s Fiction (48)

Brendon Nicholls

Ngũgĩ and the Postcolonial (53)

Pius Adesanmi

Ngũgĩ and Kenya’s History (60)

W. O. Maloba

Ngũgĩ and Sembène: Teaching the Text of History (76)

Patrick Williams

Language, Translation, Style

African Anglophonism, Translation, and the Teaching of Ngũgĩ’s Works (86)

Michael Andindilile

Contextualizing Untranslated Moments in Ngũgĩ’s Prose and Drama (93)

Evan Mwangi

From Imitation to Avant-Garde: Ngũgĩ’s Stylistic Evolution as a Novelist (114)

F. Odun Balogun

Classroom Settings

Location and History: Salient Issues in Teaching Ngũgĩ to Black South African Students (121)

James Ogude

Reading Ngũgĩ on Four Continents: Relational Aesthetics and the Global Multicultural Classroom (129)

Brendon Nicholls

Teaching Petals of Blood in a Kenyan Classroom (136)

Emilia Ilieva

Teaching Ngũgĩ’s Drama in the American Academy (147)

Gĩchingiri Ndĩgĩrĩgĩ

Teaching Ngũgĩ’s Works Written in English

A Terrible Beauty Is Born: A Grain of Wheat and Weep Not, Child (157)

Michael Harris

Teaching A Grain of Wheat as a Dialogue with Conrad (165)

Peter Nazareth

Text-Context: A Grain of Wheat as Testimony (171)

Uzoma Esonwanne

Degendering the Mind: On Teaching Petals of Blood (181)

Bonnie Roos

Ngũgĩ, Petals of Blood, and World Bank Literature (189)

Kate McInturff

Detained and African Prison Diaries (195)

Oliver Lovesey

Teaching Ngũgĩ’s Gĩkũyũ Novels in Translation

Texts and Contexts: Teaching A Grain of Wheat and Matigari in Kenya (206)

Peter Simatei

The Historical Context of Matigari (212)

Ali Erritouni

Feminist Nationalism in Wizard of the Crow (222)

Gĩchingiri Ndĩgĩrĩgĩ

Transformation through Make-Believe in Wizard of the Crow (232)

Steve Gronert Ellerhoff

Notes on Contributors (239)

Contributors and Survey Participants (241)

Works Cited (243)

Index (261)