African pasts examines African literatures in English since the end of colonialism, investigating how they represents African history through the twin matrices of memory and trauma. Inextricably tied up with the historical conditions of Africa's colonisation, charting the emergence of its independence, and scrutinising Africa's contemporary neo-colonial and postcolonial states as a legacy of the colonial past, African literatures are continually preoccupied with exploring modes of representation to 'work through' their different traumatic colonial pasts.
Among other issues, this book deals with literature in the era of apartheid, the post-apartheid aftermath, metafictional experiments in African fiction, gender representation in reaction to the trauma of colonialism and 'imprisonment narratives'. African pasts covers a wide range of African literatures and a cross-section of genres - fiction, poetry, prison-narratives, postcolonial theory - and embraces such well-known writers as Soyinka, Coetzee, Ngugi and Achebe, and more recent writers such as Nuruddin Farah, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Achmat Dangor, Etienne van Heerden, Zakes Mda, Gillian Slovo and Calixthe Beyala. -- .
Tim Woods is Professor of English Literature and American Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth -- .
Introduction 1. Figuring African history and memory 2. Purifying the language of the tribe: (Pre)colonial memory 3. Critical and traumatic realist pasts 4. Gender, Memory, History 5. Imprisonment narratives: History through the eyes of hostages 6. Embedding memory, seizing history: South African resistance poetry in the 1970s and 1980s 7. On shifting ground: South African fiction in the interregnum 8. Intimations of the Postmodern -- .