Land, freedom and literature : history and ideology in the fiction about 'Mau Mau'
This thesis sees the literature about 'Mau Mau' as an ideal site for the
examination of certain socially significant modes of interaction between 'nonfictional'
discourses ('history', autobiography, 'social psychology' etc.) and
fictional discourses (both 'serious' and 'popular'). It seeks to demonstrate
some of the ways in which realist fiction'can be made to 'render visible' its
constitutive invisible: i.e. to reveal the historical determinations of the
particular configuration of (non-literary) ideological discourses which it
'works' to produce the representatlonalillusion.
Part I consists of an Introduction which outlines the theory of ideology
and the literary-critical theory informing the analYSis of the fiction. This
is followed by an account of 'Mau Mau' as a historical phenomenon which
examines available data relating to the 'causes' of the revolt, 'Mau Mau's'
relationship to Kenya African Nationalism, the conduct of the campaign by both
sides, and the social composition of the movement, and concludes with an
account of various historical interpretations of 'Mau'Mau'.
Part 11 consists of three chapters: the fi'rst attempts to. construct a
general model of Kenyan colonial settler ideology (defined as a special variant
of fascism); the second situates the colonial novels about 'Mau Mau' by Ruark,
Huxley, Harding, Kaye, Sheraton, Stoneham and Thomas in relation to 'public'
and 'pseudo-academic' articulations of this ideology; the third discusses a
further group of novels -- by Cornish, Fazakerley, Target and Reid -- produced
. in closer relationship with the dominant liberal ideology of the metropolis
but all informed, to a greater or lesser extent, by the colonial mythology of
Part III opens with a discussion of the social, political and economic
factors determining the possible terrain of a 'new' dominant ideology appropriate
to the neo-colonial conditions of post-Independence Kenya. There follows
a chapter on novAls by Mwangi, Mangua and Wachira which are shown to have been
produced within that dominant ideology and to have been significant attempts
to give it 'concrete' fictional development. The final chapter examines the
changing image of 'Mau Mau' in the fiction of Ngugi wa Thiong'o, focusing
particular attention on A Grain of Wheat, which is seen as a 'crisis' text
produced at a moment of transition between mutually exclusive problematics, and
thus as an ideal site for an examination of.the 'dialectically productive'
relationship between fiction and ideology.