The Companion To African Literature by Douglas Killam & Ruth Rowe

The Companion To African Literature by Douglas Killam & Ruth Rowe

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ISBN: 0253336333

Indiana University Press (January 22, 2000)

Hard Cover, DJ, 336 pages

Now that it can claim three Nobel laureates and many other literary prizewinners, African literature is no longer an exotic backwater. This compact, competent reference work helps bring the enormous body of African writing to general readers. The entries—authors, titles, and selected thematic subjects—are in one alphabetical sequence. A list of themes and topics, subdivided by geographic regions, is provided. No entries treat specific countries, but a country-author guide identifies writers' nationalities. Cross-references for names or terms in the body of entries are starred. Such meticulous attention to sound, usable construction accurately forecasts equally competent entries. The editors comprise a stellar cast of scholars, and the list of contributors includes well-known as well as younger scholars from around the world, including many Africans. The entries are knowledgeable, thorough, and clearly written. Essays on themes (censorship, apartheid, the Nigeria-Biafra War, drama, religion, literature) are scholarly and a welcome addition to a reference work. Two pages of further readings round out this excellent and much needed update to earlier works—e.g., Hans Zell et al.'s New Reader's Guide to Africa Literature (CH, Mar'84)—and supplement African Writers, ed. by C. Brian Cox (CH, Jul'97), which provides more information on selected writers but lacks the breadth of Killam and Rowe. Highly recommended for all libraries.G. Walsh, Boston University, Choice, September 2000