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By Caroline Rooney

This e-book marks an immense contribution to colonial and postcolonial stories in its explanation of the African discourse of cognizance and its far-reaching analyses of a literature of animism. it is going to be of serious curiosity to students in lots of fields together with literary and significant idea, philosophy, anthropology, politics and psychoanalysis.

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Additional info for African Literature, Animism and Politics (Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures, 4)

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It is the ancestors who speak the poem ‘Souffle’ through Sarzent. Thus, the poem is an assertion not just of the living on of the dead but of the living on of an African philosophy of life with an animistic perception and values. Inasmuch as this concerns that which goes on being and so is that which goes on being, it will always have the power to oust that which tries to deny it. Animism, the undeniability of living spirits and the living on of spirits, can but keep not so much ‘returning’ as continuing, however much denied.

What this has in part been prompted by is an impression of certain comparative muteness or mutedness within French intellectual culture as regards colonial legacies whereby, given that Antigone may be redeployed as having an anti-colonial significance, the text serves as a possibly somewhat clandestine crossroads. What of the African Presence, Présence Africaine, in Paris: the legacies of Césaire and Senghor in their initiation of the negritude movement in Paris, the lively debates of the journal Présence Africaine, and the critiques advanced by Clandestine Antigones and the pre-post-colonial 35 Fanon?

Third Text devoted an issue to translating articles from Les Cahiers du Musée Moderne, produced at the occasion of the exhibit, in order to examine the suppositions underlying it. In brief, the various objections raised may be summarised in terms of a lop-sided over-evaluation of creativity, especially in its spiritual aspects, at the expense of political and material considerations. 54 James Clifford, in his contribution to the debate surrounding the issue, makes the point that what Western culture conceives of as primitive traditions and relegates to the past (and, we could add, continues to fetishise and colonise as its own lost origin or originality), is a matter of what keeps renewing itself as ‘newly traditional’.

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