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Title: Bearing witness to an era : contemporary Nigerian fiction and the return to the recent past
Author: Tenshak, Juliet
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 9420
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2017
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The body of writing collectively referred to as third generation or contemporary Nigerian literature emerged on the international literary scene from about the year 2000. This writing is marked by attempts to negotiate contemporary identities, and it engages with various developments in the Nigerian nation: Nigeria’s past and current political and socio-economic state, different kinds of cultural hybridization as well as the writers increasing transnational awareness. This study argues that contemporary Nigerian fiction obsessively returns to the period from 1985-1998 as a historical site for narrating the individual and collective Nigerian experience of the trauma of military dictatorship, which has shaped the contemporary reality of the nation. The study builds on existing critical work on contemporary Nigerian fiction, in order to highlight patterns and ideas that have hitherto been neglected in scholarly work in this field. The study seeks to address this gap in the existing critical literature by examining third-generation Nigerian writing’s representation of this era in a select corpus of work spanning from 2000-06: Okey Ndibe’s Arrows of Rain (2000), Helon Habila’s Waiting for an Angel (2002), Sefi Atta’s Everything Good will Come (2005), and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus (2006). The four novels chosen were written in response to military rule and dictatorship in the 80s and 90s, and they all feature representations of state violence. This study finds that, despite variations in the novels aesthetic modes, violence, control, silencing, dictatorship, alienation, the trauma of everyday life and resistance recur in realist modes. Above all, the study argues that contemporary Nigerian fiction’s insistent representation of the violent past of military rule in Nigeria is a means of navigating the complex psychological and political processes involved in dealing with post-colonial trauma by employing writing as a form of resistance.
Supervisor: Murphy, David Sponsor: British Federation of Women Graduates
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Silencing ; Control ; Resistance ; Protest ; Dictatorship ; Alienation ; Trauma ; Haunting ; Nigerian fiction (English) ; Nigeria--History--21st century ; Nigeria--Politics and government