Lecture: “Chinua Achebe & the Invention of Lagos,” by Liam Kruger
Date & Time: Friday 22 April, 17:00 – 18:00
Zoom: Please contact to the department
“Chinua Achebe & the Invention of Lagos” considers Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease (1960) in terms of its canonical marginality and its paradoxically profound influence on African fiction. This talk will argue that notwithstanding the novel’s tendency to cite canonical works of European modernism, its urban setting is principally produced by drawing on an emergent and vernacular tradition of detective fiction; that this setting indexes the increasing centrality of the city in late colonial African life; and that it formally responds to the success of Achebe’s rural Things Fall Apart (1958) and its problematic status as a paradigmatic African text. By producing Lagos as a chronotope, as a particular kind of place, No Longer at Ease succeeds in internalising and symbolically resolving the contradiction posed by the novel’s foreign and local horizons of interpretation, as symptoms of an ongoing imperial world-system.
Liam Kruger is a PhD candidate in Literary Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; he writes about the postcolonial novel, the sociology of culture, and aesthetic theory. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Modern Fiction Studies, Research in African Literatures, and College Literature.