Sunday, February 01, 2009

Le Clézio and African literature

Alain Mabanckou sings the praises and is clearly influence by le Clézeio, but I had never read anything by him so was interested, and so I finally picked up Mondo et autres histoires from my local library (Martin Luther King, Jr, in downtown San Jose). Wonderful stories and novellas.

Le Clézio's Wikipedia entry is just fascinating, and his Nobel lecture is dedicated first and foremost to a number of African authors- Mongo Beti, Ahmadou Kourouma, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Alain Paton (Oh! So great to read Cry, the Beloved Country on my first trip to Sudan in 1985!), and Thomas Mofolo and a couple of Mauritian authors, and then a long list of authors of what we might call the Third World, some of whom I have read, others whom I am ready to add to my list! It is a wonderful lecture, and should be required reading in any non-western literature class. Here's the concluding paragraph, from the English version (yes, it is very earnest, but what did you expect Friends of African Village Libraries to like?):
For all his pessimism, Stig Dagerman’s phrase about the fundamental paradox of the writer, unsatisfied because he cannot communicate with those who are hungry—whether for nourishment or for knowledge—touches on the greatest truth. Literacy and the struggle against hunger are connected, closely interdependent. One cannot succeed without the other. Both of them require, indeed urge, us to act. So that in this third millennium, which has only just begun, no child on our shared planet, regardless of gender or language or religion, shall be abandoned to hunger or ignorance, or turned away from the feast. This child carries within him the future of our human race. In the words of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, a very long time ago, the kingdom belongs to a child.

1 comment:

Gururaj said...

Not much is known about African literature to the world
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