African Literature, Animism and Politics (Routledge Research by Caroline Rooney

By Caroline Rooney

This publication marks an incredible contribution to colonial and postcolonial experiences in its rationalization of the African discourse of awareness and its far-reaching analyses of a literature of animism. it is going to be of significant curiosity to students in lots of fields together with literary and important idea, philosophy, anthropology, politics and psychoanalysis.

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In Antigone, the Chorus say: ‘like father, like daughter’. ) In Oedipus at Colonus (the last-written play of the The Theban Trilogy),27 we have Oedipus and Antigone in the same play. 28 In this play, so concerned with a hospitality beyond calculation and with what it means to receive, Oedipus is simultaneously accursed, a polluted, untouchable being (‘You touch me? ’, lines 1285–6) and a sacred being (coming as ‘someone sacred … bearing a great gift for all your people’, lines 312–14), who, in ‘death’ crosses the threshold between the human and divine or supernatural.

48‘I am signifying’; not ‘I am x’, but ‘I am signifying, inscribing, enacting x’. Whilst animism refers to the spirits of nature or animate spirit, in a broad usage it can refer also to the spirits of the dead, but who thereby are not just dead. In order to explore this, we will turn now to a poem by the Senegambian writer, Birago Diop, entitled ‘Souffle’, or ‘Breath’, a poem multiply anthologised as something of an animist anthem. Here is a fragment from the poem that serves as its refrain: Listen more to things Than to words that are said.

If, for instance, you read a letter written twenty years ago, you do not simply return to the past or find it returning, you bear witness to the moment of the letter’s being composed so that the present moment of the past, in which the text comes to form itself, remains present, not statically so but continuously so in an act of making. The time of composition is, in a sense, never absent for it is there in the writing. 4 As regards Derrida’s title, what could be signified is that ‘being’ is a both a written word and the word that inscribes (and there is also something of a pun in ‘L’être’ as ‘lettre’, letter, which though would produce ‘L’être écrite’).

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