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Title: Postcolonial literary publishing : Oxford university press in Africa and the Three crowns series
Author: Davis, Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2692 3647
Awarding Body: The Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2010
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This study assesses the role of the Western publisher in the creation of African literature through an examination of Oxford University Press's Three Crowns Series, a previously overlooked series that existed from 1962 to 1976. Using archival evidence to examine the economics and the institutions of African literary publishing, and the patterns of assimilation and resistance in author-publisher relations, this study addresses some of the broader concerns of postcolonialism through a study involving the methodology of book history. Part I surveys OUP's history in Africa, and questions whether this supports the formulation of the Western publisher in Africa as an agent of a `civilising mission' or an agent of `cultural imperialism'. It charts how OUP established and maintained its dominant cultural and economic position in Africa in the 20th century, and describes the complex system adopted for the cross-subsidisation of economic and cultural capital. It also explores OUP's work in apartheid South Africa, and analyses the tension between scholarly publishing for the liberal academic establishment and publishing schoolbooks for Bantu Education. Part II examines the history and publishing strategy for Three Crowns, and considers the hierarchies of literary production and consumption that were instituted. It addresses the role of the publisher in selecting, editing, producing, promoting and distributing new postcolonial writing. Through reference to author case-studies, it assesses how the aesthetic and commercial value of African literature was negotiated, and explores the systems of inclusion and exclusion in operation. Case-studies of the publication of Wole Soyinka and Athol Fugard address the impact of the publisher in the construction of the authors' literary identities. In the case of OUP's Three Crowns series, this study concludes that the publisher exercised a decisive influence on the constitution of African literature institutionally as well as on the material form of the books, and that the processes of publication profoundly affected the reception and meaning of the texts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available