“My-house-without-a-door-an-egg”: Reading an African perspective of the chronotope in selected works of Amos Tutuola, Ben Okri and Alain Mabanckou
Keywords:Chronotope, African literary imaginary, riddle, Tutuola, Okri, Mabanckou
This paper argues that the fusion of time and space in the African literary world portrayed in Amos Tutuola’s The Palm-Wine Drinkard, Ben Okri’s The Famished Road and Alain Mabanckou’s Broken Glass thickens and becomes visible to the interpretative reader through the riddle and the narrative world(s) that it structures out. Noteworthy, the respected Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin conceptualises the literary chronotope (creative fusion of time and space in the novel) as a trope for investigating the working of time and space in the European novel. However, this theory of time and space has buttressed the critical analysis of the African novel, though mostly without incorporating the African perspective, especially the important riddle-narrative trope. Nonetheless, the critical reading of the selected African novels of Tutuola, Okri and Mabanckou in this paper indicates that perhaps the riddle is at the heart of the working of time and space in the African literary imagination, particularly in African novels that address themselves to the continuities of European colonialism. The paper employs qualitative textual techniques for selecting sources of data as well as the critical processes of interpretation and analysis.
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