Tag Archives | Literature

Nigeria’s Publishing Landscape: Telling Our Own Stories

Nigeria’s Publishing Landscape: Telling Our Own Stories

The only ever Nigerian Nobel Prize winner was Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian playwright and poet who was recognised for his contribution to literature in 1986. Clearly, Nigeria is not lacking in literary talent, yet books written by national authors and published by Nigerian publishing houses are shockingly scarce. The authors are far more likely to be picked up by Western publishing houses before they have a chance to become successful back home.

Such was the story with globally acclaimed authors such as Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Wole Soyinka himself. “The best writing is not about the writer, the best writing is absolutely not about the writer, it’s about us, it’s about the reader,” – Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and novelist. So why must the most relatable stories be road-tested on a western audience before being released for whom they were intended?… Read the rest

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Satire – The Definitive Guide to Satire: Etymology, History & Lore

Image taken from page 9 of 'The House that Jack built ... With twelve cuts. [A satire in verse on the sale of gin and beer.]'The British Library

Image taken from page 9 of ‘The House that Jack built … With twelve cuts. [A satire in verse on the sale of gin and beer.]’
The British Library via Flickr.

Via Sarcasm Society

Satire is an indirect form of critique, in that it mocks or attacks an individual or idea by proxy. Satirical speech and literature is generally used to observe and judge the “evils” or morally questionable ideals held by individuals, groups and sometimes entire cultures. The attack itself is derived from what is known as the satirist’s social motive–these critiques illustrate what the satirist, within the context of their own world view, believes is “right” based upon what they ridicule as “wrong”. Jean Weisgerber’s Satire and Irony a Means of Communication states, “Satire is manifestly directed to people. It involves the victim it attacks and the public it tries to persuade, it restores to language its full status as a means of communication, its end is rhetorical.” [1]

The purpose of satire is primarily to make the audience aware of the “truth”.

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“Darkness” — A Poem by Lord Byron

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Darkness

Lord Byron, 
July, 1816

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went — and came, and brought no day,

And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts

Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:

And they did live by watchfires — and the thrones,

The palaces of crownded kings — the huts,

The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,

And men were gather’d round their blazing homes

To look once more into each other’s face;

Happy were those who dwelt within the eye

Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:

A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;

Forests were set on fire — but hour by hour

They fell and faded — and the crackling trunks

Extinguish’d with a crash — and all was black.… Read the rest

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David Cronenberg on Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

David Cronenberg writes at The Paris Review:

I woke up one morning recently to discover that I was a seventy-year-old man. Is this different from what happens to Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis? He wakes up to find that he’s become a near-human-sized beetle (probably of the scarab family, if his household’s charwoman is to be believed), and not a particularly robust specimen at that. Our reactions, mine and Gregor’s, are very similar. We are confused and bemused, and think that it’s a momentary delusion that will soon dissipate, leaving our lives to continue as they were. What could the source of these twin transformations possibly be? Certainly, you can see a birthday coming from many miles away, and it should not be a shock or a surprise when it happens. And as any well-meaning friend will tell you, seventy is just a number.

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The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Vinoth Chandar (CC BY 2.0)

Vinoth Chandar (CC BY 2.0)

 

I am a ridiculous person. Now they call me a madman. That would be a promotion if it were not that I remain as ridiculous in their eyes as before. But now I do not resent it, they are all dear to me now, even when they laugh at me—and, indeed, it is just then that they are particularly dear to me. I could join in their laughter—not exactly at myself, but through affection for them, if I did not feel so sad as I look at them. Sad because they do not know the truth and I do know it. Oh, how hard it is to be the only one who knows the truth! But they won’t understand that. No, they won’t understand it.

In old days I used to be miserable at seeming ridiculous. Not seeming, but being. I have always been ridiculous, and I have known it, perhaps, from the hour I was born.… Read the rest

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“Nobody’s Story” by Charles Dickens

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

“Nobody’s Story”

by Charles Dickens

He lived on the bank of a mighty river, broad and deep, which was always silently rolling on to a vast undiscovered ocean. It had rolled on, ever since the world began. It had changed its course sometimes, and turned into new channels, leaving its old ways dry and barren; but it had ever been upon the flow, and ever was to flow until Time should be no more. Against its strong, unfathomable stream, nothing made head. No living creature, no flower, no leaf, no particle of animate or inanimate existence, ever strayed back from the undiscovered ocean. The tide of the river set resistlessly towards it; and the tide never stopped, any more than the earth stops in its circling round the sun.

He lived in a busy place, and he worked very hard to live. He had no hope of ever being rich enough to live a month without hard work, but he was quite content, GOD knows, to labour with a cheerful will.… Read the rest

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A Man Young and Old

by Hartwig HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

by Hartwig HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

I First Love

THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty’s murderous brood,
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.
But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.
She smiled and that transfigured me
And left me but a lout,
Maundering here, and maundering there,
Emptier of thought
Than the heavenly circuit of its stars
When the moon sails out.

II Human Dignity

Like the moon her kindness is,
If kindness I may call
What has no comprehension in’t,
But is the same for all
As though my sorrow were a scene
Upon a painted wall.
So like a bit of stone I lie
Under a broken tree.… Read the rest

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The Shamefaced Lanky and Impure in Heart: Thoughts on Kafka

Franz Kafka by MEDIODESCOCIDO via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Franz Kafka by MEDIODESCOCIDO via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

I’ve been on a Kafka binge as of late. The Metamorphosis is by far my favorite book (yes, even beating The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), so it was high time that I finish The Trial.

In addition to reading the rest of Kafka’s works, I snagged an anthology of his letters, Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors, from the library. You may remember this post, where I shared a letter that Kafka wrote to Selma Kohn.

I came across another, this time to Oskar Pollak, in which Kafka metaphorically explains his tormented relationship with Emil Utz, a former classmate of Kafka’s. Just as a clarifier, Utz is Impure in Heart and Kafka is Shamefaced Lanky.

You’ve read a great deal, but you don’t know the tale of Shamefaced Lanky and Impure in Heart. Because it’s new and is hard to tell.

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Remembering H.P. Lovecraft

Howard_Phillips_Lovecraft

As many of you probably know, H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday was yesterday (August 20). To celebrate this venerable master of horror lit, I’ve compiled some quotes and links.

Quotes

“I screamed aloud that I was not afraid; that I never could be afraid; and others screamed with me for solace. We swore to one another that the city was exactly the same, and still alive…”

– “Nyarlathotep” (1920)

“Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species — if separate species we be — for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.”

– “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family” – written 1920; first published in The Wolverine, No.

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