Cover image for African literature and its times
African literature and its times
Moss, Joyce, 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Detroit : Gale Group, [2000]

Physical Description:
xlv, 544 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PL8010 .M65 2000 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



This volume focuses on major fiction, poetry and non-fiction from Africa. Organized by title, it discusses 50 works through detailed essays.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

African literature reflects the complexities of African society. In this new volume in the World Literature and Its Times series, the literature-history connection is explored in 50 entries that are alphabetically arranged from Doris Lessing's African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe to Pepetela's Yaka. Works that are included represent perspectives and experiences from all regions of the continent, from female as well as male authors working in a variety of genres, in English or translated from European or African languages. Selection of writings was based on the frequency with which the work is studied, its connection to history, and its influence. Nelson Mandela's Rivonia Trial Speech is treated, as are Thomas Mofolo's Chaka; Alan Payton's Cry, The Beloved Country; Amos Tutuola's The PalmWine Drinkard and His Dead PalmWine Tapster in the Dead's Town; and Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth. Entries, which vary in length from 10 to 13 pages, are preceded by a chronology that shows events in African history and literary works set in corresponding time frames and lists of contents by title and by author. Each entry is arranged in five sections. The introduction identifies the work's genre and briefly summarizes its contents and its places within the author's life. This is followed by a section describing social and political events that relate to the plot or contents. The next section, "The Literary Work in Focus," summarizes the contents in more detail and shows how the work illuminates history. "Events in History at the Time the Literary Work Was Written" describes social, political, and literary events in the author's lifetime. Concluding the entry are a list of cited sources and suggestions for further reading. Primarysource materials are utilized through quotations in the text and material in sidebars. Gale deserves accolades for continuing its quest to provide students at the secondary level and beyond with such a comprehensive resource covering world literature. Each volume in this series will be an asset to any library that services secondary-level patrons and above.

Library Journal Review

This remarkable addition to Gale's "World Literature and Its Times" series is the second of a planned 12 volumes and follows the acclaimed Latin American Literature and Its Times (LJ 1/00). This sturdy, handsome book contains comprehensive information on 50 works set in Africa and written by 50 diverse African authors (e.g., Chinua Achebe, Naguib Mahfouz, Nadine Gordimer, and Doris Lessing), giving equal treatment to novels, short stories, plays, speeches, essays, and poetry. The works were selected by scholars for their frequency of study, importance, and popularity among both scholars and students, and only works written in, or translated into, English are included. Each of the ten- to 12-page entries, which are alphabetical by title, contains five parts. An introduction lists the work's genre, time period, geographical setting, publication and translation dates, a one-sentence plot summary, and a brief situation of the work in the author's life and remaining body of work. The second and third sections provide succinct, encyclopedic accounts of relevant historical and social events surrounding the work, a summary, the work's historical or social inspiration, and a discussion of its impact. The fourth section looks at the author's life in relation to the work and its reception. Finally, a list provides sources cited and suggestions for further reading. The clear, straightforward writing is appropriate for high school honors or academic students. The unique focus of this book gives students a well-rounded approach to studying and writing about the included works and will supplement class or book group discussions. Recommended for all academic libraries and public libraries serving a large college population.DLeah J. Sparks, Bowie P.L., MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The editors cover 50 works, mainly novels, but also an epic (Son-Jara), a slave narrative, a political speech (by Mandela), and nonfiction (Franz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth). Writers from all regions of Africa are included, encompassing a broad range of times, languages, and ethnicities. All works are in English or English translation and were selected because of their popularity in courses, international appeal, and historical content. Inclusion of authors such as Achebe, Soyinka, Sembene, Gordimer, and Ng^D ug^D I wa Thiongo comes as no surprise, but the editors recognize a variety of talents, including Ben Okri, Pepetela, Assia Djebar, and Nawal el Saadawi. A chronology of events for each region precedes the entries. The 50 works are related to historical events. Each entry includes a summary, discussion of historical events from the time of the work's setting and time of composition, a discussion of the piece and its literary and historical contexts, and a brief bibliography. Most entries include photographs and sidebars about political figures or cultural customs. Although there are some distracting typos and the historical views presented are fairly mainstream, this volume will serve as a useful starting point for many undergraduates. E. B. Lindsay University of Massachusetts Dartmouth