Modernism and African Literature

Tim Woods

in The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199545445
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Modernism and African Literature

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
  • Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)


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This article examines the complex and often contradictory relationship of African culture to modernism and its cultural effects. It aims to address the ways in which African writers have engaged with, probed, and interrogated the discourses of modernity, especially the cultural discourse of modernism. The article suggests that in its attempt to revivify European culture, European modernism often turned to African culture as a site or space of otherness, which in some cases also became a form of cultural appropriation, a negation of that otherness, and an incorporation of that other space and culture.

Keywords: modernism; African culture; cultural effects; cultural discourse; European culture; European modernism; cultural appropriation; otherness

Article.  8024 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)

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