Affect, empathy, and engagement: Reading African conflict in the global literary marketplace

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Abstract

This article considers the intersection of ethics, responsibility, and literature through readings of Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love and Dave Eggers’ What Is the What. Examining the ways in which each novel situates its staging of African conflict against the a priori image of Africa, the article focuses on the ways in which each novel demands a readerly engagement based on alterity. Rather than viewing the text as a passive repository of ethical lessons, the article suggests that by leveraging narrative unreliability both novels create a vision of literature as the active site of ethical engagement and conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-230
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Commonwealth Literature
Volume52
Issue number2
Early online date3 Aug 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • affect
  • Africa
  • Aminatta Forna
  • conflict
  • empathy
  • ethics

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