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Main page » Dictionaries and Encyclopedias » Encyclopedia of African Literature

Encyclopedia of African Literature


Edited by an author of many books on African writers and literature, this encyclopedia covers all aspects of African literature produced in all of the major languages. Both sub-Saharan and North African literatures are represented, although for works in Arabic the focus is on the modern period.

More than 600 signed articles by academic specialists treat mostly individual authors, both well known and less established. Longer essays deal with historical and cultural issues concerning the study of African literature, including criticism and theory and its development as a field of scholarship. Essays on Autobiography, Feminist criticism, and Islam in African literature, as well as regional overviews such as Gikuyu literature and West African literature in English, make this a useful starting point for exploration of African literature. Because these more general articles are one of the strengths of the work, it would have been helpful to list them in the fore matter, as it is a guessing game to find them. Most articles, including the biographical entries, have a very small list of references for further reading. Although reasonably up-to-date, these lists are often a mixture of a few primary and secondary works, not the most impressive feature of the volume.

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Tags: African, literature, articles, works, criticism